Dutch angle, interior, an office with several half-packed moving boxes


Published 2006-07-06

We are literally hip deep in the process of deleting all our stuff in preparation for the move to Xiamen. The office is hardest hit: boxes everywhere. We spent the past week sorting out old clothes, old files, old books. All the big stuff, other than the bikes, is for sale: car and computers. Most of "Jenny's Things" are furniture; most of "Paul's Things" are boxes full of letters, photos, mementos. Junk, basically.

I have long harbored a fantasy wherein a catastrophe (like a fire!) destroys absolutely everything I own. In this fantasy, I don't even much care about the insurance money, although that adds some icing to the cake ("I can pay off all my student loans!") The catastrophe, however, must be total: I'm left with a single pair of underwear. This is the only way I could get rid of all those letters, photos, and mementos. I've had this fantasy since I was 20 or so; coincidentally about the time I began to accumulate. Since meeting Jenny, this fantasy has abated.

I'm steadily losing stuff. With every move I lose something else. Maybe someday I'll lose everything. This at a time when my cohort is acquiring: cars, houses, furniture, children. I think I'm hitting a sweet spot: finally coming to terms with my stuff. I pose as a non-materialist, but secretly I love it. We almost sold the car this week and I was actually kind of sad. We bought that car thinking we'd have it until we were 50 or something. I don't own many things, but the things I own mean something to me.

Except the computers. Those things are interchangeable.

I like to say: "you don't own your stuff, it owns you." (I heard this somewhere, I'm sure, it's too good to be my own).

Speaking of...
Hey, who wants to buy a car? Or a PowerBook? Or a really old Macintosh?