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Of Things

by vmbrasseur on October 27th, 2011

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

I do not feel much need to have things for the sake of having them. My apartment&#8212recently described as austere[1]&#8212contains things which are both attractive and useful to me. It’s a simple matter of quality over quantity.

Which isn’t to say I don’t value the retention of things, valued or not. Au contraire! I’ve spent far too much time deeply ensconced in the worlds of history, archaeology, literature, libraries and archives to believe that. We learn from the past but only if we preserve it. I just don’t believe it needs to be stored right here in my living space.

There are, however, a few objects to which I have emotional attachment. Said objects are rare but that just means that I love them all the more. So imagine my horror today when I discovered that one of these things, my Skeletool, was gone! Disappeared! Absent With Out Leave! Lost, so very lost! I was a very sad panda indeed. This had been a gift from a dear and valued friend, but almost as important as that the damned thing was a dead sexy piece of hardware that’s useful as hell. And now it’s gone, whither I know not, and I am left to mourn it. Le sigh.

My reaction to the loss of my Skeletool prompted me to consider what other objects I own would warrant similar mourning. Out of all the stuff I own[2], what would I truly miss? Hm, that’s a very good question…

And therefore I present to you the List of Things I Value, also known as the List of Things You Could Steal To Make Me Cry and Gnash My Teeth and Rend My Garments and Tear My Hair and Curse Your Name:

  • My hardware. Linux server, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Kobo eReader. Want to see me whine like a little girl? Make the server die so I have no music. Have my Kobo go dead in the middle of a good book. Really want a show? Take away my MacBook and I will melt down in the most dramatic manner possible.
  • The Godzilla Lamp. Given to me years and years ago by Guy and Megan, I treasure this silly thing. Sometimes I turn it on before I leave for the evening just so I can return to see it flashing at me in its happy, destructive way.
  • My bike. A 1993 GT Zaskar LE and not winning any beauty contests: unstickered and unfinished aluminum with fat welds that make it look like it was put together in junior shop class. It doesn’t really fit me properly and has some gearing issues and isn’t really made for street riding and I really could do better if I got something new from Public Bikes or a similar maker but… Dammit, I just love my bike and I have no desire to replace it.
  • The dining room table. What do you do when your mother spends weeks refinishing Grandmother’s oak table for you, on her hands and knees with a pin to pick out the paint which had seeped into the old oak grain? You treat it like royalty, that’s what you do.
  • Tron Solar Sailer. The original (and, IMO, only) Tron movie is one of my favoritest [sic] movies ever. I recognize it’s cheezy and dated and contrived but in my world it’s still pure magic. I about wet myself when I found this production piece on an online auction site. The seller didn’t know what (s)he had so I got it for $6.00. It cost $150 to frame. It’s possible (likely?) that it’s not authentic but I still think it’s priceless.
  • My cookware. You may not have noticed but I rather like food and cooking. I would be lost without my All-Clad and vintage Le Creuset. When I’m in the kitchen my arm doesn’t feel complete without a 10″ fibrox-handle Forschner chef’s knife in my hand and a kitchen towel thrown over my shoulder. This equipment will outlive me, even after all the abuse through which I put it. My quality of life would drop significantly were these items to go away.

There are probably a couple other items which should be on this list but which aren’t occurring to me at the moment, but it’s safe to say that these are the heavy hitters. Most of the other stuff in the apartment could disappear tomorrow and I would be inconvenienced but not sad to see it go. Losing any of these would be a major blow.

1: A description to which, by the by, I object. austere means “Severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance,” which I like to think in no way accurately depicts any environment in which I function. Spartan might be a better adjective (for a number of reasons) but still is a bit, um, severe. Efficiently comfortable is the description with which I’ll stick for the moment. [back to reading!]

2: And please don’t get me wrong, I still do own rather a lot of stuff. Just ask the saintly friends who helped me move a few months ago. [back to reading!]

From → Main, Simplification

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