March 31, 2005

Ruthless, personified

That's me. I move through the house with nary a care for the usefulness or emotional attachment we have to the object. If my house will show better without the object, then that object is already halfway out the door. Today is bulk pickup garbage day. Things like, say, broken chairs in the basement which were waiting for me to fix, are no longer in the basement and no longer waiting for me to fix them. To the curb. Old vacuum cleaner we (well, I) were keeping in anticipation of having it fixed to keep upstairs as a second vacuum, to the curb. I admit a small pang as I looked at it on the grass. We bought it a long time ago when we had different lives and were living in a different town. It brought back some nice memories.

That's the thing about objects. The reason you've kept half of this garbage is because it reminds you of things, of times past, of when you were a different person. When you were young and married and had no real responsibilities. The vacuum, by way of example, reminded me of all of the apartments I used it in. Vacuuming was always my chore. My wife hated it but did not mind cleaning the bathroom, something I hated. So I used that vacuum in a house in New Orleans (where we bought it at Sears) and in an apartment on the Upper West Side and another apartment on the Upper East Side and then the house, where it quit after some 12 years of faithful service.

So, just because I was ruthless does not mean that I was not reflective and maybe a little bit sad. I liked the people my wife and I were when that vacuum was young. I miss them, sometimes. Life was simpler then and our options seemed without limit. Now, our lives are much more complicated and our options more constrained. That comes just with growing older and having kids. I love my kids and I wouldn't trade them for anything but I miss the feeling that the possibility of the future as this limitless adventure is, if not gone, waving bye-bye.

That feeling has not been moved to the curb, but it may just be a matter of time.

Geez, I never would have suspected that old vacuum cleaner had so much life left in it.

Posted by Random Penseur at March 31, 2005 09:45 AM

Thanks for another reflective piece, RP. It made me remember some happy times, too!

Posted by: GrammarQueen at March 31, 2005 01:51 PM

Awwww...I can relate. Before we moved here, we were ruthless too. We got a small dumpster and actually filled it up with junk. Anything that didn't mean the world to us went in.

Made moving here much easier *PLUS* everything we stored was actually valuable! Cool! The house still has a somewhat Japanese-type starkness to it. Which is what we prefer. :-) was really hard letting go of some of the "stuff". But you're going to love the new house! YAY!

Posted by: Amber at March 31, 2005 02:26 PM

Thank goodness for your ruthlessness. My family is a bunch of packrats and I, obviously, have inherited the gene.

I refuse to say I'm a packrat, though; I'm "sentimental." *snort*

Fortunately, the move to marry and live with my husband forced me to leave everything I had on the curb (save clothes and this computer) and he does NOT have said packrat gene.

You'll always have the memories.

Posted by: Margi at March 31, 2005 04:54 PM
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