These days--if this doesn't immediately promise a declension narrative, a surrender, a trailing off, then, i guess, you must be living a prologue--the only subjects I can stand to write about feel dusty, irrelevant, and distant. Take for instance storage. It'll be the usual riffing on whatever odd domestic circumstance I happen to be in. The thought (imagine STORAGE titled over my field of vision) came on a walk, as usual. I looked through a window onto what had obviously become someone's storage room. There was an antique chair, cluttered beneath an abuse of cardboard boxes. Maybe it's better sequestered there, working its symbolic magic without ever having to be sat upon. No need to worry about it anymore, it's posessed. Like the object, the word once set down begins to take on other valences. You have it and it has you.
Most of my stuff is in storage. Not far--just in the garage--and not much. But separated like this (the garage is across the driveway and locked), it has a certain pull. If I can't find something it's there, but I don't need to get it really. Even if I go and rummage for it and don't find it, still it's there, hidden in the mess of boxes, among the many divisions of stuff.
Even most of my dry goods and baking ingredients are in that cold garage. A mystifying doubling of the kitchen has been brought about by subletting from friends. Their kitchen is, as all kitchens are in one way, complete. It would be ridiculous to take the time to put all their stuff in storage and replace it with my stuff. But they are particular about their utensils, and one's Cecliac makes flour and bread crumbs contamination. After a week of accidentally subjecting their pristine, razor-sharp knives to what they consider abuse (scraping them on the cutting board, leaving them encrusted with food for more than an hour), I've given in to bringing in my own comfortably shitty blades.
Their kitchen is also well-stocked with nonperishables that they've offered full reign over (also saving them the trouble of doing anything). Which means that what I bring in is a kind of icing on the counters and edges of cupboards.
I make this sound like an inconvenience, but occupying what is manifestly someone else's house is more comfortable than my own. (As I keep saying over and over.) Whenever I let the temperature drop below 70 in my old apartment, I felt chilled, and I was forever in my sleeping bag. I felt the cold from the bare walls, the expanses of empty air of rooms that were huge for me and my stuff. At this house I'm borrowing, I keep the thermostat att 66 and it feels cozy, so cramped with furniture, paintings, plants, and just whatever. It's not the kind of space that can be designed, only accumulated.
They on the other hand feel this accumulation as an unhealthy burden. Their "crap" is of a piece with their bad habits and distractions, the parts of themselves they want to leave behind. I sympathize not because I have too much shit (although even the tiny amount I do have feels like too much), but because my life feels buried, like their house. One of them said that their three-month long trip will clarify her priorities, and when they return they'll get to what they really want to do. They both talk excitedly about coming back and getting rid of most of their belongings. The huge wooden counter that bisects their living room, filled with dozens of drawers on one side, once used in a store, will go, they say. I hope they don't read this while they're gone, because while I don't believe their resolutions, I don't want to scratch their visions of the future.
I have more to say on the subject of storage, somewhere.