Saturday, January 21, 2006

on moving house 1

I originally considered calling this blog 'the existentialist guide to interior design'. Needles to say the name was to exhausting, too deeply philosophistic. So i opted for something more straight forward, but i wish to mention the alternate title to suggest a way of interperting what this blog is about. Its not so much about the experience of moving house, but rather the way that the experience of moving house places our selves into question. Moving house - making a new 'home' sets off a range of questions, implicit or explicit, about our existance & identity. So lets begin...

one
Boxes, milk crates & plastic bags. All these material things that i call mine, that i care about if they are lost or stolen, are placed into boxes. Enough for approximately two ute loads. Perhaps a third for the shelf, it may need to travel alone. It is ironic that these personal items, makers of my taste & style, do not travel well with my shelf. The place where they would otherwise sit within my home do not suit each other as well when moving house. Fine china and wooden shelving become parted lovers. They simply do not 'go'. Instead the delicate china is placed in milk crates. And the adored clothes from my wardrobe are placed into plastic bags. Well actually garbage bags. Those personal belongings become indistinguashable from trash. My life is relegated from the fine shelf framing my possesions to the common and unmentionable housing of a milk crates.

China is wraped in yesterdays news. 'Surely its at least worth some up to date?'. No such luck. There is no wardrobe to provide the aura of presitge. They sit in those garbage bags, wraped in that dated paper. Now they too appear to be dated. Some lingering thought persists - that that childrens toy i've kept for so long on the matle piece may as well have been some blackened banana peel. Just a kind of visual gimick, like a peasant sitting on the kings throne. A joke. Perhaps all cultre is just garbage. This isnt so hard to accept. Anthropology has made a science out of such a belief. Treating the waste of ancient cultures as the society itself.

My life, till now, is summed up into a catalouge containing three catagories. Those things best moved in boxes, those things best moved in crates & those things best moved in garbage bags. There is no category for things moved in silken napsacks or finely crafted wooden boxes. It just doesnt fit.

two
I toss out a pair of shoes. They are sill wearable, but only just. 'better to throw them out now, they'll be dead in a month' I tell myself. 'It'll lighten the load for my move.' And so they are thrown out. Trashed. A pair of worn out shoes are thus deleted from my personal belongings, my personal world. Many other things will disapear in this way. Thrown out in order to lighten my load. Other items will be kept. For instance a pair of severly torn pants - long past their use by date. '...At least for a template if i ever decided to sew new ones.' This is a lie. I know the seams are too weak to unpick & the time it would take is not availible to me. Yet... i keep them. They are a sentimental thing.

We clean out things when we move. Keep the things of meaning, throw away those objects which have lost their connection to our 'self'. If something is not liked, if it is no longer 'me' then it is erased. We - maybe I should say 'I', but i feel it is not just me who does such things... anyways - we engage in a process of editing our own lives. This is done much in the same way that we edit photo albums. To paraphrase Dubravka Ugresic, much like a photo album we manage the material indexes of our memories in order to produce a sense of identity that is fitting to who we deem we should be. This does not by necessity match who we are. This process can be a swirl of many emotions but the end result of this process is a clam. The emotions are repressed. We observe a peace that comes with occupying the images of the desired. (After detracting what is undesirable). We are what we want to be. At least for a brief moment, before that image too becomes dated. And no person can ever stand to be dated. We are of the present. The editing proces must begin again.

I continue to throw things out. The pile of stuff i keep sits in one garbage bag in one corner. The stuff to throw sits in another garbage bag in the other corner. I smirk to myself "wouldn't it be funny if i got them mixed up..." My smirking ceases as i decide to move the garbage into the bin. Just in case.

interlude
i am still moving house, or rather unpacking, i have no internet. it will be a while before i post the rest, the less sour finale of this post. i do believe there is some affirming quality to moving... im sure...

1 comment:

Alienkiss said...

and luckily metaphors can morph and change so it isn't just a binary decision...
Catch you soon you