Destraction Pack-tion (what's your fraction??)

Tonight I am loading up my belongings into boxes for what feels like the fortieth time in my college life. You kind of hope this sort of thing will end when you graduate, and I suppose it does for some people. As someone who likes to move (in theory) and certainly sees a life for herself beyond the confines of U-District Seattle, however, I'm going to have to resign myself to the inevitable truth that my relationship with cardboard boxes and packing tape is an "in-too-deep" sort of deal.

When I see my bathroom, bedroom, closet, and kitchen "necessities" piled up near the doorway, ready to be heaved into some appeasing friend or family member's vehicle, it always makes me think the same thing: I have way too much stuff. And from there I always come to the same question: How the hell did I get so much stuff? I can name three things that are as hard for me to give away as they are easy for me to acquire and those are papers, books, and clothes. My passion for writing has driven me to save everything from in-class doodles to horrible horrible poems to champion essays that I'll never forget took me 10 hours to complete. I've gotten much better: I used to save all of it. Now I remind myself that Google's not going any place and that if I don't remember how the cool the phrase "militant milieu" sounds, no one's going to suffer...even me. Especially me.

Here's how a night of packing usually goes for me: I begin in my bedroom. "Man, my stuff's really decreased from last time I packed!" I always think at this point. This period of room-haul is fraught with metaphorical pats-on-the-back and excited anticipation of seeing what a minimalist I've become when everything's all put away. Sooner or later I get to my office stuff and think "Now would be a really great time to go through my papers..." That either results in my sitting down and sorting into yes-maybe-no piles or my bypassing the thinning altogether by chucking it all in a bin and saying, "I know! I'll do it when I unpack." Ha.

Office supplies always make boxes way too heavy; you have to attack the closet at this point so you can offset the bulk with light things like scarves and socks. This is to ensure that the people helping you move don't fix you with how-the-f*ck-do-you-expect-me-to-pick-this-sh*t-up grimaces as they waddle out the door under 60 lbs of boxed guilt. The closet always stresses me out, though (like I said, too many clothes), so I pack about half of it, feeling sheepish as I layer my one-and-only designer-brand skirt (I wore it once this year! That means I get to keep it, right?) atop my favorite high school thrift store vest that I've never yet (but may someday) feel hip enough to pull off.

It's time to bake.

The kitchen begins in wariness, middles out in celebratory abandon, and culminates in total horror. I feel like kitchen stuff is more excusable than my journals and skirts, cause everybody's gotta eat, and it's nice to be able to do so with the right supplies. This is part's always slow-going, cause stuff's gotta be wrapped so you don't arrive to your new home with rainbow shreds of Crate&Barrel ceramic. Then comes the excitement of fitting all the gadgets and bowls into little Tetris formations in my assigned boxes. That lasts a solid hour or so until I open a cabinet I'd forgotten about and realize NO ONE NEEDS THIS MUCH PYREX TO COOK A MEAL EVER. I turn to half-full bags of brown sugar and walnuts I've unearthed at the back of my shelves, and suddenly baking sounds like a really great idea.

Who cares that I don't have time to clean these dishes -- that I really don't have time to be baking at all? What does it matter that I only have 3/4 the amount of butter? Am I going to complain about having to unpack half of what I've already Tetris-ed when the end cause is dessert?

The dessert always ALWAYS turns out terrible. I'm not paying attention (because by now I'm back in my bedroom looking at old letters from friends I haven't talked to in ages and creating a "Packing Playlist" on iTunes), or I was too lazy to dig out my Cuisinart to mix things properly, or the recipe really did need that much butter... and now I have to find something else to eat. At least I have less flour and sugar to carry.

How about the bathroom? That's easy! Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, brush, hairties, bobby pins, face cream, soap, shampoo, razor, tampons, band-aids, face cloths...tweezer....nail polish.....Noxema......Soft Scrub........makeup samples?!?! OKAY HOLD ON. How did this happen in here?? Am I just some kind of, like, human hamster? I must be mixing my stuff up with my roommate's -- there's no way I bought three kinds of face washes and forgot to use them all.

Around the midnight mark I find myself in a maze of boxes -- it's past the point of no return. Tomorrow I will be judged. I will make excuses and apologies as I pray everything will fit in the car. I will start sacrificing extra notebooks and the clothes I was once-upon-a-delusion going to nobly carry to Goodwill instead of throwing into the dumpster. I will unload everything in my new room and stare around at the boxes in this new environment, thinking "That didn't take so long. Maybe I don't have too much stuff after all..."

And someday, before I know it, I'll be discovering the vest and plates and the poems and the 20 shades of nail polish and asking myself who I am and what all this stuff is doing here -- and putting them into boxes again.

1 comment:

  1. 'Stuff' is so we can have wonderful yard sales to share our 'stuff' with others who also have too much 'stuff'!