Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Consider This

Things That Wait

       Do you ever think about your containers? I mean storage containers? The boxes, jars, crates and bags we have around our homes, all filled with stuff, sitting in silence, just waiting for forever? I think about them often and own far too many. So do you, I’ll wager. There are so many of these silent receptacles about us they are like the stars above; uncountable.

      These boxes, barrels, trunks, cases, chests etc. are filled with things, stuff, objects made and used by humans, then stored, spending the beginning of eternity in the dark insides of pods, useless, silent, hopeless. Waiting. One can hope these things are stored together so they can converse, although I can only assume they soon run out of things to discuss as time drags on. Oh, you’re wondering how I know that non-human things can chat and think? OK, well, who says they can’t?

      As I’m approaching the prime of my life—what a joke ---at nearly 79 I’m far more approaching the eventide of my life, but whatever, at this point I’m paying a lot of attention to our supply of crates and sacks filled with patiently waiting things that have served us well, howsomever briefly, and then tossed into boxes, lids closed, lives over. For example, I have a box of very old fashioned silver brooches stored at the bottom of a bookcase stuffed with books I might actually read if I live past my 149th birthday. There they wait, and wait, worn maybe during the day of the flapper, or even before that, where they gleamed upon milady’s collar, jabot or cloak and where they may have even been commented upon, admired, perhaps loved. And now they wait, bundled together, tarnished and useless. They should be worn but are not. Frankly, they would look awfully out of place pinned to the frayed collars of my favorite sweatshirts. And yet I could put one on if Mongo and I went out to dinner and I upped my wardrobe a bit. But I don’t. Those pretty pins, likely not very valuable, wait silently in a dark box. No longer chatting. Waiting.

      So do my favorite books, mostly biographies, but primarily history and art that don’t get looked at any longer, and there they wait, and wait. I can donate them and they still wait for me to do that. I walk around our basement and look at organized jars of nails, and screws, drill bits, flotsam and jetsam, things saved, jarred and boxed up, sometimes labeled, their chances of getting used again about zero. And so there they languish, year after endless year. Waiting.

      The same with junk drawers. These remarkable repositories are filled with the small saved pieces of our lives we simply cannot throw out and never will. Occasionally they are rummaged through with hopes that one missing important shard of our life will be in there, but even if it is, we can’t find it under the huge amount of junk drawer stuff we’ve tossed on top. All those disparate pieces of stuff wait and wait to be chosen, resurrected, pasted back into our lives, probably having more to say than the other drawer residents scattered about our home because they keep getting new additions to their collected family. Sometimes I think junk drawers should be gathered from everywhere, their contents glued/sprayed into place, all sent to the Smithsonian and put on display in one huge wing of that great institution where the world could really see how we live and who we are.

       Our storage vessels abound, filled with thousands of things we save for unknown reasons, or may even harvest from time to time, like one filled with a collection of safety pins. I take one out to use and look at the others lying in the blackness, wondering what’s left for them to discuss. Some of them are even diaper pins from the days when our sons were babies. Treasures. Waiting.

      When we die, our families will add all these stored things to their own, or will tip them into garbage pails and they’ll all then live in a lightless land-fill, this time for a real eternity until they rust or rot to nothing.

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