Much time in my life has been spent writing lists, checking off lists, and throwing away finished lists. I love the sense of accomplishment in a completed list. Thankfully, an uncompleted list doesn’t drive me crazy since unfinished items can just be added to the next list.
I have legal pads, notepads, and sticky notes stashed everywhere. I make grocery lists, lists for my days off, and lists of errands. If I have an important baking project or holiday dinner to prep for, I make the list in the order in which I will go through the store. I have drawn maps for those shopping lists.
If I don’t write it down, it might not happen.
NOTE: Let the sun rise in the morning.
ANOTHER WEIRD LIST
A few summers ago, there was a lot of flooding in our region. In my city, it was mostly limited to basement flooding, but we had a few huge rains and lots of people living near rivers lost everything.
My hood did have issues with the sanitary sewer system. A line broke, everything was overstressed, and we were asked to not flush our toilets, run our showers, or add any water to the sanitary system during “The Crisis.” On the plus side, I learned that I am not afraid to shit in a bag and that I can get completely ready with a small bottle of water, a tin bowl, and a wash cloth. #whoresbath2010
Along with the call to not stress the sewer, I was in “The Zone” where the mayor said there could be sewer backups in the basements. That meant sorting through things in the basement and deciding what needed to come upstairs just in case Poop River picked my house.
I dodged the shit bullet and Poop River stayed north. But the big sort in the basement got me thinking—I get high on the sort. What can be sold? What can be donated? What has served its purpose and is ready for the landfill? The sort turned into the “Big Pitch.” I challenged myself to get 100 items out of the house before I could bring anything into the house, not even a gallon of milk. A regular person might have just trusted that he or she would ditch 100 items or maybe do a slash count. You already know what I did, with a coded system of Gave Away = ga, Goodwill = gw, Sell = s, Recycle = r, or Trash = t.
I won’t bore you with the whole list:
8. Diapers for dogs (ga)
30-39. Pairs of socks (gw/t)
56. Top Hat A & T calendar (t)
85. Callus remover (t)
95-100. Various projectors and film shit that sat in the garage for years (ga)
101-105. Expired condiments from fridge (t: food waste/r: containers)
147. Pom poms (gw)
149. Cast iron skillet (gw)
Life’s been pulling at me lately, asking me what I want and what I’m willing to do to get it. It meant a Big Pitch, which included renting a dumpster this go around. People dove my dumpster, which made me feel slightly cool, but then really sad once I realized that things like Ex3’s shelled work boots that had sat in the garage for two years were gone.
Amazing how much shit can accumulate over a decade in a home. Each Big Pitch also seems to dig a little deeper.
Why did Ex2 leave a Honey Bunches of Oats cereal box stuffed-full of pheasant feathers under the stairs? (I kept waiting to find empty Tanqueray bottles or baggies with a touch of residue, like we did in the false ceiling tiles after he left.) Why do I have seven plastic lawn chairs when I only like having people over in tiny groups so I can actually have a decent conversation with them? Why do I have the half-full bottle of laundry soap that I brought to Ex3 when he was in treatment? Why do I have the flowers he gave me, dried upside-down, held-together with a baggie tie?
I want to give these things meaning, but there isn’t any.
It’s just stuff.
The only emotional map attached to any of it is the one I hold in my mind.
I remember walking with Alli down 15th Street, in the pre-Joey days, when I had the moment of clarity and realized that I didn’t really own anything except my spirituality. Everything else could be taken from me, from the beautiful Bitch at the end of the leash to my job to my home to the fingers on my hand.
All I owned was what I believed.
Let some shit go.
People, things, ideas, places, whatever—they come and go in our lives, often in ways beyond logic or common sense.
All I owned was what I believed.
Control is for the un-brave.