In my head: Cruel Summer – Blestenation

For some reason, the archived comments on my blog no longer work. That kind of pisses me off, since I do have them there for a reason – I like to go back from time to time and read them. There’s not much point in having people write them in the first place if they’re just going to get deleted.

It’s hard to find good service these days, I guess.I almost shelled out the dough to buy that blogging software that you can put on your server (I can’t think of the name right now, but it’ll come to me), but I just couldn’t justify it. If at some point I can figure out a way to make it useful for Shootingiron, i’ll have the company pay for it. Until then, I’m stuck relying on other people’s service. Cuz, hey, free is free.

Anyway, here’s the bulk of my entry, another project from the writing class.

“Enough is not enough”

I’ve moved at least eight times in the last ten years, and no matter how many things I sell, throw away, or just leave behind, I always manage to accumulate more “stuff” that I don’t really need. How does this happen? It’s as if I’m compelled to acquire, driven by some basic need to hoard these things that do nothing more than collect dust on the shelves and make my next move all the more tedious.

If I wanted to put as much effort into making excuses for my junk as I do into collecting it, I could say things like: I want to be prepared for as many occasions as possible, I’m going to use that sometime “very soon”, and I like to have things to loan out to people. These excuses are all true, mind you, but they don’t really address the issue that there are hundreds of items cluttering up my shelves, closets, desk, cupboards, and drawers, that serve no practical purpose whatsoever. As much as I’d like to believe so, there’s no need for a penholder in every room of the house, each with at least five pens (though pencils, for some reason, seem to be consistently meager in supply).It’s easy to see how some of my things have been acquired. In a word: hobbies. Plastic models with paints and accessories to accompany them, a flight log with maps and charts, computer games dating back to the time of floppy disk, various photography paraphernalia, weights and exercise equipment, and numerous art supplies from half-finished projects. However, while these help explain the clutter, they by no means excuse it.

Almost two years ago, I was renting a small room in a friend’s condo while examining the direction my life was taking. All the belongings I used on a day-to-day basis were kept in my eight by eight-foot bedroom. One bed, one bookshelf, one desk, a three-foot wide closet, and everything they could contain were all I had access to. The rest was in storage. And of those items that were out of sight, I neither required nor missed anything.

Obviously, there were things in the rest of the condo that I took for granted – kitchenware, furniture, telephone, television, etc. But those weren’t the things that now clutter my life. It’s everything that I was living without.

The real kicker is, after I moved out and retrieved all of my things from storage, I couldn’t imagine parting with any of them. Once they’d re-imposed themselves on my mind, once I remembered that I owned them, they suddenly became important again. Why?

Some of it I can understand. There are always items that people consider sentimental, and keep for that very reason, but photocopied text from high school classes that I’d never read in the first place? Come on, that’s just downright crazy. To think that I’d been lugging it around for all that time boggles the mind. So I did the right thing – I got rid of boxes and boxes of garbage.

It wasn’t the last time such an event would occur. Some time later, when moving out-of-state, the opportunity arose for me to “clean house” yet again. Piles of clothes from the nineteen eighties, that had somehow survived the previous cleaning binge, were donated to charity. Stacks of paper and useless junk were tossed.

Little good it did. I find myself moving again, and everything seems to have accumulated in bulk. Feeling the need to once again pare down, I started with the obvious. Four shelves of books – I always meant to read them, but ten years later decided that it just wasn’t going to happen – have been sold or donated, along with numerous CDs that haven’t been listened to in ages. And yet, I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything that remains. All the papers and bric-a-brac that were so painfully parted with before have been replaced. The worst part is, the new stuff doesn’t even have sentimental value.

So I’ve decided, it’s time for a purge of epic proportions. Not just a purge, but a change as well. Anything that has no practical value gets tossed. Memoirs and photos will stay, but no letters, cards, or anything else that I may try to tell myself I’ll read again one day, and never will. If a friend wants to borrow a book, too bad, I won’t have it anymore. That’s what library cards are for. If I don’t have something that a situation requires, I’ll improvise. The acquisition of useless items will stop here and now. If something can’t significantly improve either the comfort or quality of my life, I don’t need it. Each piece of paper, unless containing records or artwork, will end up recycled.

Really though, who am I kidding? Not only am I lazy, but as much as I hate moving my junk time after time, I like having my decorative, dessert coffee glasses. As soon as I get rid of something, it’ll be replaced by the newest gadget of the week. I’m a creature of habit, and no amount of moving, griping, or ridding myself of clutter will ever change the fact that I like having stuff. And unless I’m forced to live out of a box, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be gathering it until I die.

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