Our national day of mandatory gratitude and gluttony and yclept Black Friday are receding into the tryptophan-dazed past; what remains for me is the intensity of my basement clean-up.
Already I regard it as its own kind of frenzy.
Nor does it take quantum mechanics to recognize the dialectic,
the pushmi-pullyu, the ying & yang of the gorge/purge pattern just enacted.
For three days I pulled out everything in the basement, put some things back – but labeled and sorted - and threw much away. We took 2 full truckloads to the DPW facility (trash and recyclables); I packed up boxes to give away to charities (And according to my daughter, leave them the task of throwing things away).
Have I mentioned how satisfying this all was?
Among the jettisoned items were:
A ceramic turkey
A non-functioning/never functioning mantel clock
About 400 pounds of dirt
6 rusted coal burning fireplace covers
Broken and sometimes intact glass urological X-ray plates, from the 40’s and 50’s
Broken hockey sticks
Broken tennis rackets
A motorcycle seat covered in red Naugahyde
I will stop now.
As much as I enjoy this sort of thing, I realize it is prompted by the middle-of-the-night fear that I will be run over by a speeding ambulance or impaled upon the antlers of a vengeful deer (though I try to emulate SS. Eustace and Hubert and their instant conversions as perpetrated by visions of the cross between the antlers of the hunted stag, but I fail to see anything between the antlers but bearers of Lyme ticks), and then my children, in the midst of their busy lives, will be forced to clear out this house. And they will not speak kindly of their dear-departed mother. No, they will find themselves asking:
Why did Mom think she needed three separate collections of faux fruits? Did she really need this chart of the parts of the eye? What about this 1955 Conversational Arabic? How many broken door knobs is too many? These Christmas decorations I made in third grade were not great them and now that they’ve been nibbled by a mouse they are even less appealing. Was she stockpiling floral oasis against a worldwide shortage of green Styrofoam? And did she have to keep the maps she drew in the 6th grade? Half the countries are no longer extant. Did she ever plan on hanging this mussel shell wreath? Or wearing it?
Did she really toss away our patrimony on straw hats for shrunken heads? And why does patrimony refer to the wealth we inherit from our father/parents, while matrimony means the legal union of 2 people?
No. When they retrieve my flattened body from beneath the ambulance I would like their grief to be untinged with resentment at the mess I have left behind, so I clean the basement.