I’ve rearranged my work schedule so now it’s three days on, four days off. I spent this last newly minted holiday weekend much like I spent the previous one: cleaning, decluttering, making over the home. Focus this weekend was the kitchen: I hung shelves, got rid of stuff, opened those floor level cabinets and reshuffled their contents. Food that I had sitting around that wasn’t part of the new regime got chucked, nick-nacks got re-evaluated and pared back. The problem with all this is that I tend to work elliptically, doing something for a while and then wandering onto something else
I’ve come to see all horizontal surfaces as my enemy: as soon as I clear one off I start dropping stuff back onto it. So the rhythm is a kind of endless trot – find stuff, find a general home for it, move it to that home, carry something else back again, over and over. To drive this I find that I have to play certain pop albums over and over: this weekend’s was Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest hits.
On thing that I’m proud of is that I’ve actually made use of many of the things I bought on whims at Ikea: wall brackets, plastic bins and so forth. This stuff has been sitting around making me feel like an idiot and a spendthrift, so when some of it gets used I’m in heaven.
Last week I had dinner with my friend Lynne, and in filling her in on what’s been going on with me I talked about the way that I think about most of the clutter as “unfinished buisiness”. I then told her about my plan to have a kind of book givaway party, where I invited folks over and let them take anybooks they wanted out of the batch that was going to The housing works bookstore. She wisely, nixed the idea, pointing out that it was one more example of not finishing buisness. I was using an altruistic motive as a way to dawdle on the threshold of parting with things. That’s the kind of behavior that I think I have to stop.
The truth is I’ve gone two and a half years without really un-packing. And when we talk about certain items, they havent been unpacked in decades. My hope is that in all of this I’m developing a more discerning eye towards what is genuinely useful to me and what isn’t. I capped the weekend’s efforts by moving a bookcase out to the street last night. While this might seem insane given how many books I have sitting on the floor of my living room, this particular case was irking me where it was placed and how it was colored. In fact I had found it on the street, not long after I had moved to Brooklyn, and it had served me faithfully for six years or so. But somehow it seemed to be holding me back. So out to the street. It went out at around 10:30 pm. By 1:00, someone had taken it home.
But all of this leaves me with another problem: I have nothing else to talk about. Certainly this journal seems to have degenerated into a babble of minutia (see above) and if possible, I’m even more useless on the phone I didn’t see anyone all weekend, except for my shrink, and my trainer. I spoke to two people on the phone, and one online.
I can only hope that all this is laying the groundwork for a spce and a life where it will be easier, less arduous for me to be around myself and other people.
I don’t feel anguished in anyway, in fact at times I feel elated, as the various aspects of the house click into focus. But I also feel muffled, peering through a thick wrapper at the rest of the world.