BLAST FROM THE PAST
It's been quite a stressful past couple of weeks, first with the computer-breaking thing, and then with the moving thing.
But life seems to be calming down a bit, and now I just have the book thing stressing me out, in the form of this book I have due July 1. Er, two books actually. But, um, oh well. I'm sure it will be fine.
I don't understand how I got to be like this, waiting until two weeks before the book was due to start it. I was never like this in school. I ALWAYS started my papers in plenty of time to finished WAY before they were due. What happened? I mean, what's changed between now and the mid to late 80s, when I was in college?
I have been thinking a lot about the past since we moved into our new house–for one thing because it's a hundred and fifty years old (yes, just like the one Suze from THE MEDIATOR lives in. No hot cowboy ghosts in my new house so far, though). But also because we've been doing a lot of unpacking of boxes I haven't opened since I moved to New York after college in 1989.
This is the first place my husband and I have lived together where we can actually unpack ALL of the boxes that we've both been lugging around—separately–since we moved from Indiana. Because apartments in New York City–where we both moved (separately) after graduation–are so small, we kept all these boxes of stuff from our childhood/teen years/early twenties in rented storage units.
Some of my boxes haven't been opened since 1989. That's because I always swore to myself I wouldn't open then until I'd found my dream house, the place I was going to stay for the rest of my life…or until all the oil runs out and we have to start living in caves, at which point I will probably be left outside to starve anyway, as I have no worthwhile skills that would cause anyone to want me as part of the new, post-electricity age (besides which, without AC I would just die, anyway).
Even when we moved to Florida a year ago, we got a storage unit for these boxes because our house didn't have bookcases, and most of the boxes contain books, like my complete collection of the Making Out series, and all of my Barbara Cartlands, and my Jane Austen graphic novels—yes: “Pride and Prejudice” in COMIC BOOK form. Lizzie looks just like Barbie.
And, um, I didn't exactly consider our first Florida house my dream house. Although, as my husband likes to point out sadly, he considered it HIS dream house, and still bemoans the loss of his fabulous kitchen.
But hopefully it will turn out to be someone else's dream house, since as of this writing, it is still available.
But our new house—in addition to having a great many built in bookshelves, with its very small waterfall, and 19th century trompe l'oeil murals on the ceilings–is definitely MY idea of a dream house (and he can always redo this kitchen, too).
So this weekend we got all of our boxes from storage and started opening them.
I was really excited about this, because I just knew my boxes were filled with REALLY IMPORTANT stuff I'd packed away 16 years ago. I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this stuff again.
I just couldn't actually remember exactly what sort of stuff I'd put in them.
But I knew if it had been so important to me in 1989 that I had had it shipped all the way from Indiana, then paid to keep it in storage for more than a decade and a half, it had to be TOTALLY GREAT. Opening these boxes was going to be like opening a part of MYSELF I hadn't seen in a long, long time.
And this is what brought me to begin to wonder what HAPPENED to me between 1989 and today.
Because I have now discovered that sixteen years ago, I carefully packed away some of the most USELESS, RANDOM crap, that I obviously thought I would REALLY REALLY want someday, when I moved into my dream house.
Some examples of these items include:
1) Broken Happy Birthday digital bubble watch.
2) Purse made of old pair of jeans with patch sewn on it that says FRIENDS ARE 4EVER.
3) 1980 Empire Strike Back coloring book, partly colored in, with the cover torn off.
4) Notebook completely filled with an outline for a western I wrote (but thankfully never showed anyone except my 12th grade English teacher, who must have thought I was insane) about a morphine-addicted sheriff, and the prostitute who falls in love with him and makes him get off the smack by locking him in an outhouse for three days.
5) Figurine of two pigs humping.
6) Janet Jackson tape, half-melted due to being left on the roof by my little brother.
7) Notebook completely filled with an outline for a novel I wrote (but thankfully never showed anyone except a college creative writing teacher, who must have felt really sorry for me) about a guy with an unlimited trust fund but no life goals who lived on his family's yacht, and the girl boat mechanic who falls in love with him and makes him stand on his own two feet by refusing to fix his carburetor (do boats even HAVE carburetors?).
8) Two years worth of back issues of Sassy magazine.
9) Collection of weird hats, obviously inspired by Lisa Bonet's character, Denise, on the Cosby Show, whom I worshipped, and whose look I emulated to the point of often even getting the same haircut (the cute asymmetrical bob she had in the second season).
10) Really, really ugly flip-flops, with swimming goggles and hat.
Now, really. I can understand SOME of the stuff I've saved—the Sassys, the novels, the Barbara Cartlands.
But humping pig figurines? Broken Happy Birthday digital bubble watches? The approximately 7,000 rubber Disney figurines I carefully wrapped in tissue and which I apparently thought at one time I was going to put in a lighted display case in my dream house's living room?
How could I have cared SO MUCH about something in 1989, and not even know what it IS now? Why were these things so important to me back then? I just don't get it—not where they came from, or who gave them to me, or why I bought them (or wrote them). I mean, I was paying $100/month to keep a broken bubble watch in a Manhattan storage unit!
Obviously for some reason, 16 years ago, I was convinced these things were super important.
But WHY? WHY?????
And why couldn't I have saved some of the GOOD stuff about me from 1989? Like my ability to do a half-hour aerobic workout and 100 crunches EVERY SINGLE DAY and not even think about it?
Or my ability to draw a totally realistic-looking horse in under half an hour?
Or my ability to start and finish a project WELL BEFORE it's actual due date????
WHY DID I HAVE TO SAVE THE HUMPING PIG FIGURINE INSTEAD????
Anyway, all of this has led me to be extremely thankful of one thing:
That I never got a tattoo.
Because–as illustrated by the things I saved 16 years ago, thinking they would be SO important to the future me–what may seem super important to you now (important enough to lug around the country at great expense for 16 years), may, down the road, turn out to be something you look at and go:
I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER WHY I LIKED THIS THING THE FIRST PLACE.
Fortunately, since it's not a tattoo, you can always do what I'm doing, and put it in a box marked FOR DONATION, and get rid of it. Which I'm off to do right now.