My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Playboys and Broken Pabst Boxes

What a last few days... I hardly know where to start.
I have this article on my computer, written by the lovely Mark Morford, which I have been reading and re-reading. Upon finishing it I am always determined to go straight upstairs and clean out my closet, once and for all. It has been stuffed to burst with clutter since I've lived in this house, and I never touch any of it. Naturally, the few times I've tried to do this, the same thing usually happens: First, I pull out several boxes and spread them over my floor. I open up the first one. It is full of old Playboys. I look in another. There I find old school notebooks and homework assignments and pieces of writing I did when I was 14 and a photograph or two and before I know it I am sitting in my chair amidst the piles of rubbish swimming in a sea of nostalgia and going through each box, amazed at all the things I had forgotten.
Then I realize two hours have past and nothing's been done, but I'm hungry and it's dark outside now and I have to go to work. I stuff the papers back into their boxes (worn, broken down Pabst and Bud Light boxes taken from my days at the G Street Pub) and shove them back into the closet hastily, where they sit until the next time I read the aforementioned column.
This time around, I resolved not to let nostalgia defeat me. I got up early, prepared some Arabian Mocha Sanani in my french press, and put on a recent mix by my fellow mix cd auteur, Ryan. The sounds of Cab Calloway filled the room and I set into it. Determined not to get distracted or sidetracked by whatever I might find in those beaten old boxes...
It was mind-boggling. I opened a box of old vhs tapes and found that I owned a copy of Pump Up the Volume, a movie I've been planning to buy on dvd for a while now. There were splintered Vic Firth drumsticks thrown from a rock show long ago. A large box of what must have been every pair of shoes I've ever owned in my life. Several comics I had drawn back when I attended the Evergreen State College. Memories came flooding out and I was tempted once again to get lost in them...
I did not. I began dragging boxes out to the living room and slapping post-its on them, designating where each would go. My shoes and ungodly tacky old hawaiian t-shirts (what the hell was I thinking?) to the thrift store. My useless, spyware-ridden pc and all its constituent parts to Free Geek. Old copies of The Stranger (a whole box full. Honestly.) to the recycling bins.
This went on till nightfall, and I came damn close to falling into the trap of reading old pieces of writing and looking at postcards from people I could not remember at all... but I kept myself focused and got everything organized and finally put the few things I was actually going to keep (the old Playboys, photographs, some letters) back in the empty closet and slid them to the side. The rest of it lies stacked on the couch in my living room. Tomorrow I will drive them all to their new homes, and come that much closer to living the simple life I so desire... strange how much the state of my closet affects the feeling of my room. Now that it's been stripped to its essentials, the whole place seems to breathe a bit easier.
These were all little parts of me from all the years I've lived, and yet I never touched them. Never called or visited them or asked them to tea. They lie alone, neglected, forgotten.
I don't care about the past so much anymore. Why, then, has it always been so hard to simply let these things go?
It will all be gone. Soon. I still have some big plans for the purging and cleansing of my room and my life, but damned if it ain't a fucking start.


  1. I'm having purge envy... It's been some time since I've done this for myself and I sorely need it. Good for you! And you were right to keep the letters. I once went through a purging phase, adopted at the peak of my youthful exploration of zen, and discarded a number of letters (on recycling day, of course, so I couldn't change my mind) on the premise that those people should be alive inside my heart and not exist soley on paper. I was a silly girl. I'm glad to know you have more sense.

  2. Good job. Ain't that the greatest feeling? Like you're now more responsible, yet you've also lessened your responsibilites? Grounded and floaty.

  3. dude, you totally inspired me. i'm heading to goodwill to drop off huge bags of clothes, etc right now.

    i'm determined not to lug my crap up to portland. did you know i'll be there in about two weeks?