Sunday, May 01, 2005


I have a 'stuff' problem.

See, The Ornithophobe, she likes Stuff. Book stuff. Toy stuff. Dish stuff. Music stuff. She never met a sale she didn't like. She never said 'no' to freebies. She never passed up a yardsale in her life.

I sit here, in my 900 square foot home, surrounded by Stuff. The books won't stay on the shelves anymore; they've run off into boxes, teetering to be read piles, bags. They're in every room of the house. And if I like a book? I tend to want to read it again. And again. And again. Consequently, this has led to the keeping of every book I read. Not for me, the library. Oh, No! They make you give the books back! I prefer the eerie certainty that somewhere, deep in the recesses of the house, lies the perfect book I want to read. I only have to find it.

Which is becoming something of a problem. This week I bought a second copy of a beloved book, because I have no idea where the first one I bought went. I'm sure it's here; it's not as if I LOST it, certainly! But the logistics required to locate it are such that paying 4.00 on ABEbooks seemed a more practical arrangement.

Sometimes though, I wonder what it might be like to have no stuff. Imagine that. If everything I owned could be carted about in a backpack. If I didn't have to keep up with anything material. No wondering where the cake tip I want went, if I don't have any cake tips. No wondering what I did with the August 1997 issue of Archaeology magazine, and no digging through the two foot pile of periodicals in the garage to find it.

It might be liberating, the lack of stuff.

Sometimes I think about moving away. Packing up the rugrats and myself, and just - going. Just seeing where the road takes us. Like Winnie the Pooh, let's go on a Long Explore. See the country, from the backseat of my beleagured Toyota. Talk history standing in civil war battlefields, eat dinner in a host of roadside diners. What would it be like, to really experience this country, and not simply read about it in my living room?

But see, the stuff- it owns me, I do not own it. I am the wholly owned subsidiary of a massive library of stuff. Books and magazines. Movies. Action figures. Barbie dolls. I have service for twelve in Noritake and two sets of everyday china. Shaped cake pans have bred out of control and taken over my kitchen. I cannot stop them; I know that at one point, some day in the distant future, all my happiness will depend upon having at hand a copper mold in the shape of the state of Texas.

I only hope that, when the day comes? I can find the damn thing.

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