In 48 hours we leave with all of our stuff. 48 hours is the sum total of nearly the entire drive across America’s heartland. If we leave now, pile on the No-Doze, shotgun some Red Bull and blast some cold air we’ll get there before lift off. How odd that might be.
We have, officially, an assload of boxes. We ran out yesterday for round two and can still fill them all. I’m not sure how two people in a one bedroom, 800 square foot apartment have this much crap. It’s unsettling. And the look of it, the yang to its yin, reminded me of a story.
I once knew a girl named Jamie who lived with a boy named Jon. They both went through this phase where the goal was to own little-to-no stuff. They lived in a massive two bedroom apartment on College Avenue in State College. They had one pot for making soup. A few plates. One set of silverware. Two thin, camping mattresses. Some clothing (only because they wished to avoid arrest—however, if it were up to the two of them, everyone would be naked and everyone would practice free, Manson-family love. A story for another day.) They had one shower curtain covering a rod holding two towels. I think Jamie had a hair brush. But Jon shaved his head so he needed little-to-nothing when it came to items found in the bathroom. There was one ashtray next to one alarm clock. And a small table for eating the soup. There were two cold brown chairs at the table, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call them visitors. They were beaten and old and barely functioning. I wish I could say I was exaggerating. Surely these two would have failed miserably during a heated game of Family Feud when the survey called for “Items Found at Home.” I so would not have wanted to be a part of their family.
Anyway, the two of them were weird for a while. Not weird in a real way, but weird in that way one attained from a used philosophy book on existentialism.
Jon was allowed to have many books. Jamie had a boom-box for playing cds. They did not have furniture to hold said items, which were just strewn across the floor like apartment rodents and obstacles for the feet. For me, the apartment lacked a skeleton, its guts lie about as if it were victim to a hit-and-run. Jamie used candles to see her way as lamps were things. It was always dark in there, day and night. And I think even the huge Pennsylvania trees outside the apartment’s bare windows yearned for their usual view of human stuff.
One night, as Jamie and Jon were inhaling whip-its through their only prized possession, it occurred to me how much I wanted to have stuff around me and how absurd this all seemed. As I inhaled my cigarette I pondered ways to get through to them and game stuff into their life. We could have a whip-it poker game.
I’ll see your whip-it, and raise you three more for a rocking chair and a cup of hot chocolate!
Yesterday as I’m sitting on the floor surrounded by boxes and boxes of items I can no longer name even though I just packed them up not minutes before, I remember Jamie and Jon and their quest to rid their life of its stuff. I remember how cold that floor was in their dark-brown apartment. I remember the echo of our late teenage voices and the sound of skinny mice running through empty cabinets in search of anything other than the smell of a left over whip-its and cigarette tainted breath. Suddenly all these boxes seem sort of comforting, like moveable walls leading me someplace soft, whip-it free and hopefully alot less brown.