We are in the midst of full-on moving chaos, and its all I can do to keep from renting a huge Bengal tiger to eat everything in the apartment. Actually, we have a Senegalese man in the apartment downstairs who sells cubs. But it turns out they are wolf cubs and of no help. The worst they could do in this apartment is yip and beg for milk. And that would not aid in getting rid of the clutter.
The clutter! The clutter! It overtakes the apartment even as I type this. We are losing the war against the sundry miscellany. You would think that boxing everything would reduce the clutter, but it only seems to make it angry.
I don’t handle clutter that well, it turns out. I always fancied myself a little sloppy, but that seems to be true of a Sam long since replaced. I realized this when I came indoors from lugging boxes up from the car only to find that in the temporal space between crossing the threshold of the apartment and setting the boxes down, I had inadvertently removed my shoes.
So what have I done to escape the clutter? Well the only way to fight it is to pack and clean! But, since doing that would require confronting a reality for which I am not yet equipped, I have found that is easier to create intricate and involved tasks for myself that contribute nothing to the cleaning effort.
An example? I recently ran across Elissa’s old CanoScan N650U scanner. We have never been able to get this particular piece of equipment to work, so I thought: I’ll bet I can get this particular piece of equipment to work. After many hours of searching the web for the proper driver (Canon removed the driver long, long ago), I was finally able to find a generic Canon Photoshop plugin and tweak it to work with the CanonScan N650U. And success! We can now scan anything with this antiquated and subpar relic of a scanner. This would be much more a coup, however, if I needed anything scanned.
Another question I thought deserved immediate and urgent attention was: Which one of my old mix tapes has the highest fidelity? That would be the “Bullets in the Fire” mixtape that Tyler recorded on a Memorex CD2 110 Type II High bias High Output Wide Dynamic Range.
Elissa lets me play a reduced role in the packing process, but I can tell its taking a tole on her everytime a roll of brown packing tape goes zinging by my head. I feel for her, I do. However, the psychological numbing I have undergone in the clutter is extensive. Is PTSD too much of a hyperbole for what I am going through? Maybe, but consider this scence:
And I sit in the middle of it all like the mariner in Coleridge’s most famous Rime. “Clutter, clutter everywhere, and nowhere a piece to clean.” All this clutter began innocently enough earlier today when Elissa and I decided to split up our DVD collection using a method of you-pick-I-pick. I admit that I may have taken advantage of the situation. My first pick was to take the 8-disc set of Pedro Almadovar DVDs that I gave her for Valentine’s Day. I knew that was probably the wrong move when she shot back across my own bow by snatching-up Fight Club. It grew worse from there.
So many pictures of our valuables makes the Voice of Dad that lives in my head say, “Don’t put up pictures of everything you own: the thieves will use the information to rob you. And also, never give anyone you SSN.” But at this point a robbery might at least thin the choices we are having to make.
I took 6 boxes and bags of clothes, VHS cassettes, and shoes to Goodwill today, and have plans to return again. This whole ordeal is the purgatory I will keep uppermost in mind when considering the purchase of … anything. Maybe this is how Buy Nothing Day started.
Packing, culling, and chucking is always a grueling experience. Made more so by the little relationship flashpoints that are unearthed in the process. This is an awesome poster Elissa made me when we first started dating five years ago. She spent a lot of time combing magazines and clipping phrases and images that she felt defined me as a person and that would resonate.
A number of quotes are featured, such as “It’s inapplicable to anything … And it’s dumb,” which was from the all-time great B movie: Megaforce, starring Barry Bostwick as a spandex and sash wearing member of the world’s ultimate elite military force who all ride flying motorcycles that shoot bottle rockets. And a line that reads: “There’s a thin line between sanity and madness,” which may be a apt summation of the theme expressed in Michel Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish”, which I was obsessed with in high school. And, the famous Good Will Hunting line, “Do you like apples? Well. I got her number, how do you like them apples?!”
She spent a really long time on the poster, and when I received it I should have used my job at Kinko’s to laminate and preserve it. It is, after all, a time capsule that holds her distinct view of me in that era and all the first inside jokes and shared experiences we had. Instead, I put it on a high shelf. Out of sight and underneath boxes. Some of the clippings fell off when the glue lost its adhesive properties. The D, U, and M in “dumb” and a clipping of Pearl Jam, my favorite band, all gone. At the time Elissa was incredibly hurt that I would virtually discard something she spent so much time and heart on. We got over it, though everytime we see the poster and notice more clippings gone it stings again.