Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Evacuation - Fall 2007

Evacuation – what would you take if there were a fire….

About 15 years ago, there was a serious fire in the Oakland hills that threatened to come down the hill into my neighborhood. I watched the news intently and then I decided to pack. I took what normal people take, the photo albums and the important papers but that wasn’t enough. I packed my Chinese jewelry box that my brother gave me. I packed a rod-iron candlestick my friend Austin made me. I packed up all of my artwork. What I selected were things that I couldn’t replace.

In looking around my apartment now, what would I take? The lazy part of me says – nothing – because I’d want to take everything – but most importantly, my computer. This is where all my creative work is now… stored up… but the thought of schlepping that to my car… well…. just the thought of moving anything sounds exhausting. Maybe it’s the smoke in the air – oh yeah, Southern California is raging with fire. Fortunately I’m not in an effected area but we can still smell the smoke.

Events like these make me want to cut down to the bare essentials so I won’t worry about losing anything. What is it that I really need? When I left to live in Israel for a year, I put my things in storage. These were things I could not possibly have departed with. Away, I thought about my things while I was living in other people’s quarters. I ached for them; these things belonged to me and me alone.

Gleefully, I opened the storage unit, when I came home to be reunited with my things. Then I saw them and thought – why the hell did I keep this stuff? I didn’t really have the emotional attachment to the items that I used to when I first put them away. I was willing to pay 25 bucks a month to store them for a year. I probably couldn’t have sold those things at a garage sale for what I had shelled out. I was attached to some of the things because of the stories they had – like my futon that I got at discount because the original one I ordered couldn’t be delivered on time because the truck was hijacked. But in reality, the futon wasn’t very comfortable. It didn’t have much value beyond the story. Aside from books, there wasn’t really much there that was worth it. And I learned a lesson from that – things can be replaced, even precious things because things change and feelings change.

But now I have a new set of precious things – well sort of. I try to clean house more… I go thru things, articles, and shake my head. Why was this important? Why couldn’t I depart from it. There are things I’ve given away that I miss – but do I really miss them? Or is it something else I’m clinging onto?

1 comment:

moving said...

Moving into a smaller place helps you realize that you are holding onto a remakable amount of crap. Old spanish notebooks anyone? but i know that i have kept on to it because it reminds me of how hard i worked to semi-master that language. i have sinced tossed the notebooks but kept the drive...some time i still miss them though.