Saturday, 16 April 2011

With my stranger's eye

I walk into this domestic interior and it's like walking into a stranger's house. I don't know who this person is, but they seriously piss me off. I mean, what is it with the wicker fish hanging from the ceiling, the silk book nailed to a wooden door, and the scary home-made face pinned about with beads dangling over the stairwell? What weird shit is that?

Half the stuff I'm looking at has no memory for me at all. Worse, it's all held in a house which looks unattractively battered, filthy, falling to bits, and covered deeply in dust, not just of months, but of years. It says to me someone has been seriously conning themselves regarding distressed wooden flooring and original Victorian fittings. The reality is much, much worse than they've been admitting. It has set me off crunching anti-allergy tablets like there's no tomorrow. Which a bacteriological analysis would probably conclude there won't be, unless someone gets started with 50 litres of antiseptic, a super strength vacuum cleaner and a roll of 200 bin bags.

Well, there is an advantage to having a space in my head that is being filled up by the sight of domestic clutter for which I have no memory and no emotional attachment.

It is that I can become ruthless without guilt or remorse. I am starting to hurl stuff into plastic bin bags. I need to do it quickly and short-sightedly, before memory creeps slowly back up on me, before I have chance to look at what's in my hand and start thinking about it. If I do that, I am sure to be pin-pricked with a moment in 2004 when it will be all fond and pointless and 'aaahh that was the day Squirrel fell off the kitchen table, and while I waited to see if she had concussion we all made wooden spoons decorated as dollies. Aaaah, I cannot possibly throw the dollies out now!'

Bleugh. I want to be ruthless. I want to clear the junk out. Don't let the children know, but I am already determined to lose my mother memory for longer than I really do. Secretly I know I will enjoy this vicious streak where I betray memory with a bin bag, assault small cuddly objects, and seek out the inner ugliness of countless small items that have plagued my life for the last ten years. More fool me that I allowed everything and everyone to do it while I stupidly sank under a wave of clutter and never once did I even try and wave.

Well, no more. I am tired of feeling overwhelmed by stuff. Without immediate memory of it, I can see it for what it is. It is neither homely nor comforting. It is simply an assembly of junk that needs dumping.

There will be limits, of course there will. Although at 2.30 this afternoon I temporarily forgot what they were. Cruising by the local lake on my new MOT wheels I merely popped in the watersports centre to see what they could do for three home ed, summer-term children. Within five minutes I had given away two of my daughters on a last-minute, cheap deal activity holiday starting Monday. Irritatingly, the third wouldn't go. Seriously, Squirrel, are you absolutely sure you want to stay? What? You're staying all week?

9 comments:

Ellen Arnison said...

That's an inspiring post. A stranger here would find similar, dusty congregations of crap the kids can't even remember.

MadameSmokinGun said...

Bin liners R Us. I have to curb the habit of moving odd things nearer to the bin but not actually in it - wondering if I should be so bold etc. I have to move house in probably less than 2 weeks and haven't even got a box yet. Nowhere to put one.

sharon said...

I can recommend ruthlessness - it's really quite liberating once you get into it ;-)

Rachel M. said...

Oh crap, if Squirrel stays she will thwart your efforts!

Big mamma frog said...

Oh God! Bring that black sack here! Rid me of my evil clutter!

(but don't let me look)

Gweipo said...

I shipped all my junk as I had no time to sort it. And my son remembered that 2 years ago a little plastic thing flew behind the bookcase and stood in wait while the movers took the case down from the wall to retrieve it. Sad.
BUT when I get to Singapore I will be lonely and friendless with more than enough time to let rip with the bin bags....

Expat mum said...

Wait until you're in a really bad mood. I always find it much easier to "sort" in that mode!

Kelly said...

My oldest sons, ages 23 and 20, still haven't forgiven me for the set of 101 Dalmatians McDonalds toys I sold in the garage sale before we left Ontario to come to B.C. fourteen years ago. Seriously, it still comes up. I do not believe they will ever get over it. So, I just accept that the detritus of modern life is part of what divides parent from child. Parent finds it overwhelming; child finds it comforting, part of the wallpaper of their lives. But I do not regret the little doggies. Or the eight bags of Lego. Or the boxes of pipecleaner animals. Or....

Grit said...

people, i can see a need. i think i should begin a weekly confessional blog for wicked parents to say what they have thrown out, sold, or brought about the destruction of in the greater good of household order.

in the spirit of the thing, i confess here to popping the helium balloon in 2004 with a kebab skewer then claiming 'the fairies took it because it was so lovely'.