Monday, October 8, 2012

The Joy of Finding Stuff


I haven't been in this house long. I come in from the outdoors where I feel totally at home and find myself in some strange twilight world surrounded by boxes and barrels and bags. A haphazard maze beckons me with its mystery. Should I go left and open a neat clean box, taped carefully, unlabeled as are most of the rest, or should I cut apart the twine holding together the handles of the Disney Store bag and see what delightful possessions are making it bulge? Should I cut through the layers and layers of tape holding together a box which has been used to hold goods many, many times, its various labels, handwritten or printed by machine overlapping each other, black, red, blue, white and green looking delightful and happy together? I see a box that had held a space heater, a piece of masking tape over the bright image and lettering factory printed on the box saying only, teasingly, "STUFF". I WANT STUFF! I NEED STUFF!

Hang on now, what if it just that, just STUFF, nothing worth naming specifically? Perhaps the contents of the junk drawer in the kitchen, the paper clips, rubber bands and expired coupons, picture hangers and batteries (dead or alive? who knows but I can't throw them away), box tops and marbles and shoe strings and nail clippers and stubby pencils and dried up pens and mysterious phone numbers on the backs of envelopes or the cleaning supplies and extra rolls of paper from under the washroom sink. Maybe it is even worse STUFF, like crap I swept into a dustpan from the garage floor? Screws and nails and bits of wire and nuts and bolts and teeny Allen wrenches and dust and wire nuts and fish hooks and, well, you know, STUFF? I thought I had labeled those boxes GARAGE STUFF but I admit it. I am a slack labeler. I may not have gotten the word GARAGE on there at all.

Maybe it is personal STUFF. Knitting needles and yarn from my bedside table. Massage lotion (that's right, I said it, I ain't skeert), the book I was reading before the move which seems to have disappeared, six keys that go to God knows what, but when I find whatever it is I am sure it will be locked. A coin from Panama, where I have never been, a china dog my youngest daughter gave me when she was seven. Some loose Tums and Motrin PMs, 3 unmatched socks and a back scratcher. All of these things should be in a box somewhere, labeled PERSONAL STUFF but I haven't found it yet. Maybe I am just mis-remembering and it just said STUFF, or, knowing me, had no label at all.

I pick up the box and shake it. I can feel something heavy and off balance shifting, I hear rattling of copper and tinging of tin and silent noise of plastic bending.

I am doing it! I am opening this box next. I can't wait! I am getting my STUFF back! I slice open the tape, giving myself an adhesive rimmed paper cut in the process, I rip the flaps open and what do I see? Random freaking stuff, not STUFF like I had hoped but regular old running around while they loaded the truck picking up mismatched and forgotten items and tossing them in a box stuff. Two plastic coat hangers, a windbreaker, a Christmas ornament, a pot lid, a dust pan, a wonderfully silly tall top heavy metal sculpture of a frog, the key card for the community pool and the key to the large ornamental gas fireplace at the rental house. Two back issues of Southern Living and a wash cloth pad a cheap vase and one shoe sits sadly in the bottom.

Next time I am going for the bag...