Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Not enough junk in my trunk

As many philosophically minded folks do around this time of year, I find myself in a New Years quandary of sorts. Two paths present themselves unto me, and I am unsure which to take.

It all began a month or so back when I purchased a new wallet for my mother for the holidays. Upon removing the gift, a small strip of leather fell from the bag. It looked like a scrap of one of the leathers on the wallet and so I set it aside. As I examined the wallet, I did not notice a scrap missing, so I wrapped the gift up and set the small leather strip onto my hoosier. My hoosier is where lost pieces of crap go before they are ultimately discarded or more likely, stored indefinitely in one of my junk drawers.

Next to my calendar, beside a stack of aging receipts, this piece of leather sat. After a few days it was joined by a box of tic-tacs and a button. A few weeks later there was a wick-less tealight there as well. We had guests coming to stay with us over the holidays, as well as our annual holiday party coming up, so I decided that the hoosier needed to be cleared off, as I tend to do every now and again.

The holidays come and go and bring with them much fun and happiness. I find myself delighted by all the positive responses to the gifts which were well thought out, generously budgeted for, wrapped with care, and given with love. Surprisingly, my mother was leading the praise charge, and I only say surprisingly because the wallet was "off list" and was not one of the requested/pre-approved gifts. I surprised her, which can always go one of two ways. Thankfully it was a big hit. The only problem she says, and maybe I can help, is that the external zipper of the wallet seems to be missing a small strip of leather which helps operate the zipper. Shouldn't be a problem, I say, as I am sure I held onto that thing for a reason and now I shall just go home to retrieve it.

Several days later I actually remember to go looking for the missing strip of leather and the search begins for what I can only now call "that Mother F@#$ing piece of leather." When it wasn't in the first junk drawer (and yes, I am that big of a pack rat that I have several junk drawers), I was disappointed as it was there that I found the tic-tacs and button that accompanied it only a few weeks back. On to the next few drawers where I rummaged with purpose, which gave way to frustration, that morphed into anger, which ultimately settled into rage. Through batteries both new and old (not that one can tell the difference as they roll around aimlessly in there) and rubber bands I sifted. Over business cards of persons unknown and under pens with questionable ink content I searched. Finally I accepted the fact that I had, in a moment of purge-y tidiness, decided to throw the tiny strip of leather away. This was an incredibly hard fact to accept as I pricked my finger on open safety pins and got dust under my finger nails from miscellaneous scraps of paper and thread.

And so it is here that you find me, at my crossroads, searching for the answer via my internal monologue which, as it turns out, reads an awful lot like a blog. Not to the question, "where is the tiny strip of leather?" for I do indeed fear the worst of that poor little scraplet, but "how am I meant to proceed in life?" "What is to become of all my junk?" And most importantly, "is there a way for me to save some stuff, but not have serious regret and anger when the few things I do not save are inevitably the few things I ever need again?" Do I continue to save everything but make sure I am more diligent in saving every little thing, or is this some sort of a backwards sign that I am meant to toss it all?

Cause I mean seriously, what the f#% is wrong with me that I find it necessary to save all this crap? And it is crap. In the act of searching for the tiny strip of leather that I had saved, but only briefly, I came across some world class crap-ola.

I'm not talking about pencils, gum/breathe mints, paper clips, used birthday candles, owners manuals, lip balm or any of the other moderately useful stuff that clogs my junk drawers. I'm talking about the ridiculous stuff I made a conscious decision to hold on to that I seriously need to reevaluate.
I had to document it all in a failed attempt at self-shaming
So let's see, here we have:
*a small ornament- which is missing its top... so I guess that makes it a small, scratched glass ball/choking hazard/cutting hazard.
*lift up flaps from one of my daughter's favorite books- which I keep telling myself I am going to glue back in... one day.
*an empty bag of replacement corks- just misleading enough to make you think you have them in the drawer so you never buy more, but then disappoint yourself the first (and maybe also the second) time you need them.
*par avion/airmail stickers- which I'm pretty sure you can mark as obsolete since you can very easily send postage overseas without them these days, but maybe I thought my little lady would like to add them to her sticker collection? As I mentioned before, I have a bit of a pack rat problem.
*a pin which is part of a set from a store that closed about a year ago... Pins? Assuming that I am not adorning a jean jacket with them, what am I supposed to do with decorative button pins? Please keep in mind that given my pack rat tendencies, any half-decent answer to this question will be entertained and give me enough reason to hold onto them a little longer.
*a perfume aerator- minus the attachment that actually allows you to release the perfume from this jar.
*a mostly empty container of bubbles- leftover from a wedding three months back, or was it the one a few years ago? Time really flies when you're mindlessly collecting stuff in your drawers.
*two pieces to our old camera- which has itself been missing for three months, but I am convinced that the second I throw these pieces away we will find it .
*a gift card from 2012 for a free Manheim Steamroller music download- hard to believe that in an entire year I neither found the time to download the song nor the self respect to discard this card.
*a broken, old phone cover- it's been replaced several times over, but this is the most reuseable, should I ever decide to eschew the $25 replacement in favor of a dirty, already broken one.
*a piece of a cupboard- but I'm not sure where, how or why it fits back in. 
*multiple small plastic pieces that belong to something or other- I'm not sure exactly what so I have to hold onto them.
*a washer and a few metal and plastic screws- ok, ok, those I might actually need again one day.
*a stylus- despite the fact that I haven't had an electronic device that came with a stylus since my palm pilot ten years ago.
*and the arm to a much loved pair of sunglasses of my daughters- which, needless to say, have been rendered useless for a while due to the seemingly obvious fact that an arm is missing.
All of this but no small leather strip.

Given the amount of cursing that has gone on in discovering that I don't have the piece of leather, I don't see how getting rid of everything could be the answer.  I hate myself for not having it. I hate myself for keeping it and then for some unknown reason, getting rid of it. I hate that I had no good reason to toss it that day. I could have very easily found a safe home in one of the junk drawers for a tiny strip of leather. WTF? What is the universe trying to tell me? What kind of leaf am I meant to turn over in this new year?  What do I do with all this crap I still have? And what happens if I am wrong again? Help me see the light. Help me choose the right path. Help me find this g-damn piece of leather so I can stop worrying about it.

So as you set forth on your own path of the new year, I implore you, refrain from over-thinking it as I have done. For I truly believe that I am screwed either way, either for saving every little thing or for purging my entire home and then regretting it every time I need something that I have thrown away. Regrets for what we have versus regrets for what we no longer have. Please do not start your new year with either. Be happy that you have a home in which to store things and be happy that you have a trimmings store somewhat nearby where you can buy some sort of tiny strip of leather to replace the other one. Just don't beat yourself up, don't get angry and don't, whatever you do, spend an hour questioning all of your life decisions all because you mistakenly tossed a tiny scrap of leather. I have seen the light! I am a changed woman. I am free to move on... me and all my buttons.

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