I have a house full of stuff. It is somewhat reminiscent of George Carlin's bit:
That's all you need in life, a little place for
your stuff. That's all your house is- a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't
have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all
the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that
when you're taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody's got a
little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your
house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of
your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap
you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a
place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff! Sometimes you
gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.
Not that I'm thinking about moving anytime soon. There are still plenty of places to fill with stuff at my house, but I am frequently amazed at how certain corners and shelves have been stuffed full while I was busy watching another spot. This is the accumulated mass of a life or two, or three. Probably more if you count all the stuff from my wife's family and mine that we continue to drag around in cherished pieces. These are collections of memories hardened into wood or plastic or cardboard. We cling to them while other objects have been cast off in order to remain off the short list to appear on the next season of A&E's Hoarders.
This process is not without regret. Actually, it is filled with nothing but regret, since the thing that we have thrown away is no longer taking up physical space, we have nothing but the sadness of that toy car or box of VHS tapes being gone to replace it. That, and a little more room.
Oh, and a nagging suspicion that the box that just drove off in the back of the recycling truck had that missing photo of me with Charles Kuralt. Or maybe the box of Hot Wheel track that was shipped off to the kids at our son's old preschool that had Speed Racer's Mach 5. It is a sure thing that much of the vinyl that left our house in crates are now highly collectible and rare, but the idea of picking them up and moving them to one more place where I would not bother to look at them, let alone slide them out of their sleeves and give them a listen gives me a little pain just over my left eye. I don't think I was sitting on a demo recording by the Beatles. There were some picture discs, and a few rare pieces that might have made a collector swoon every so briefly. But that collector used to be me, and I was able to get over the idea that I needed to hold on to every little thing that I came into contact for the long haul we call "life."
Thanks, but I'm like that chair we left on the curb a few years back: overstuffed.