Monday, January 14, 2008

Out, Out Damn Stuff!

I'm bulimic, and it's so completely awesome. For years, I've been binging, binging, binging and now it's all purge, purge, purge, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Not the food kind of bulimic. Food is the best and should be digested down to its last delicious molecules. I'm talking about all of my stupid crap, the boxes of dumb shit I've been hauling between dorm rooms and apartments since 2001 that serve no purpose besides being heavy and also dusty. All of it, every bit of it needs to go, like so much peanut butter eaten directly from the jar by Dana Plato on Different Strokes.

I know, bulimia, not funny. But such an easy metaphor, and come on, who doesn't need a Dana Plato reference on a Monday morning?

Take my closet, for example. I had something like twenty pairs of broken, messed up, worn out, or left-only shoes. Also two boxes of CDs I haven't unpacked since May of 2004, when I packed them in giant Sapporo boxes taken from the bar where I worked. I had a folder filled with three copies each of cringe-worthy college short stories written in the two hours before my workshop: one for posterity, and two others because boys I thought were cute at the time wrote on them. Three months of the Sunday Times. A curtain I spilled green paint on.

In my night table: fortyish dried up markers, an Altoids tin full of beads I've been "meaning" to make a necklace out of since I was 14, a small copy of the New Testament someone handed me on the street and I've only ever used to paint my nails on, a clock radio that has never once worked, and several unused photo albums. And a CD that someone left in my room during my freshman year that is scratched beyond playability and, also, I haven't spoken to its owner since October of 2001 and didn't really like her even then but, you know, maybe I should hang onto it for the better part of a decade just in case.

Purged every bit of that shit. Ten garbage bags full of total crap out the door and on the curb and now biodegrading into toxins in my water supply. It rules.

I blame it all on The Diary of Anne Frank.

Seriously, when you read that as an impressionable nine-year-old with literary aspirations, you start to hoard every piece of paper you have ever written on in hopes that it is 1. genius, and 2. easy to find if you happen to meet a tragic demise and your mom decides the world should read what you had to say. This is why, post-purge, I still have a tote bag (actually, a weirdly patriotic God Bless America tote bag, and I have no idea how it came to be in my possession) of notebooks from field trips to the Amish Country and Cape Cod.

Sadly, upon reading these again, there are no "people are basically good" revelations.

There is a particularly choice essay about how "as time goes by, people will think the Amish are dumb for not using technology."

Maybe I'll keep that one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throwing out stuff is weirdly liberating. I've been throwing out one thing a day for a few months now and I can see my floor again. I put scraps of paper with a phone number, but no name, in an envelope. Just in case.

Great to have you writing here again.


5:25 AM  

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