Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poor Materialist


I went shopping today. Ah, dismay.

Don't get me wrong. I bought stuff. Good sales, new coat 70% off, shirts, child garb. I even stopped by the jewelers to check out how much replacing what I've lost would cost. Owie.

I don't know if I will replace it. Could I face losing another expensive little thing? I can't say I am anti-materialist but I am a poor materialist. I suck at owning things. My husband is good enough to say I keep track what is important but it fails to excuse what slips through my fingers.

Consider my record of losing little things others would meticulously track. The very first 'real' jewelry I got, that star sapphire ring. How about the vintage rhinestone cuff bracelet my Mom had kept across two continents and 20 years you know the one I didn't even ask to borrow. Then my principal MIA the fine silver bracelet bought to celebrate my first performance pushing a human out of my body. I am a woman letting herself go in all the stuff I don't mind while conducting this life.

Now, I have the operations manual for every kettle I have ever owned. I can produce the minutes of a strata council meeting I attended 14 years ago. Downstairs find a photo of a friend from grade 6 who's name escapes me. I have a Tube pass from London vintage 1987; in my hope chest you'll find a salt shaker and an empty mickey from a tequila adventure at Spanish Banks one year later. How can I justify that stuff? Do I have no sense of value? There seems to be some whiff of a vacuous socialism on my part here. In a manner I do not really want to be fully associated with the abundance I enjoy. But at this advanced age it seems, frankly, stupid.

Ruminations like these often validate my career history in libraries and museums. I really do like things but it seems too much responsibility for me to own them myself. I wonder if I can solve my problem by changing scale maybe I should go out and buy a nice new suit 'at regular price' for once. Or perhaps we will buy a dining table for the first time in our lives instead of relying on hand-me-downs. It would be pretty hard to misplace those!

What do you think my problem is? If you have precious odd item archives yourself? do tell.

ps.. for the source of that darling image at the top of this post you gotta check out belle and boo. Thank-you Rachel Loves. Which reminds me we all have to talk about how to help save handmade soon... You won't believe what CPSIA means for libraries!

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