Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the road

George Carlin once said that home is where you keep your stuff. If that’s true, I live in an embarrassingly powder blue Toyota matrix, packed comically full from floormats to ceiling. My father, the designated organizer/packer/putter-of-things-in-boxes-and-overly-full-refrigerators, has strategically stacked cardboard boxes all around so as to confine me to a little corrugated cave in the back seat. In filling these boxes, I realized just how much stuff I had: errata for which I have no use, need, or even particular desire, yet have kept for years in some cases. Initially, I thought the size of my car would limit the amount that I could bring with me, that I would be leaving behind personal treasures and much-needed supplies. As the boxes filled up, I carefully considered each of my possessions, and my desire to be enclosed in a cave for two days instead of an iron maiden with collectibles and keepsakes for spikes outweighed my attachment to it. My mother, upon hearing my announcement that I had finishes packing, was appalled by what I was leaving behind. “You’re not bringing THIS?!” she would ask incredulously, holding up something-or-other. “Noooo,” I would reply, dragging out the word and emphasis a little more each time. “But someone GAVE this to you!” Here is where I had to resist the urge to face-palm and go Niecy Nash on her ass. People give you things all the time, sometimes useful, more often not. You are under no obligation to keep them just for the sake of having that object around. To me, the sentiment attached to them is a lot more meaningful (and doesn’t jab you in the spleen every time Dad takes a sharp right turn).
This move presents a singular and quite valuable opportunity: to start completely new and unencumbered by years of accumulated stuff. I get to choose every single thing that will be in my new life now, a freedom that is exhilarating and makes me keep breaking out in smiles at odd moments (not that my family isn’t used to that; I have far too many inside jokes with myself).
A welcome change from the past few days, these smirks have replaced a furrowed brow and clenched jaw holding back tears. The reality and finality of an empty bedroom and a full car hit me. However, parting with my house and my stuff did not truly constitute parting with my home; here George Carlin was wrong. I may be passing through Ohio, but with my parents in the front seat, I have yet to fully leave home. Part of home did stay back in New Hampshire, though, and it nearly killed me. For days leading up to yesterday, I was dreading the inevitable goodbye to my dogs. Even though I’ll see them in about six months when I return for Christmas, that brings me no comfort because I know they won’t be my dogs anymore. It won’t be my home; I’ll just be a visitor. I won’t try to describe the sentiment because any pet owner either has experienced or can easily imagine why I find my face mysteriously wet whenever Hannah and Jason come to mind. I try not to think that for the foreseeable future I will be dogless, that the moisture on my face will be from tears instead of puppy kisses.
What does dry my tears is knowing that I’m headed (at twenty miles an hour over the speed limit, ahem) towards a place that already feels like home. I don’t feel lost or floating, or even in transition. In two days’ time, I will be living in a house I’ve never laid eyes on, sharing space with a person I’ve never met and to whom I’ve spoken only once, bringing with me nothing but my clothes, a Swarovsky crystal squirrel, and my laptop (okay, so I snuck in all my cooking supplies; they seemed way more vital to my happiness than anything else). Yet somehow, that doesn’t scare me. Me, with all my neuroses and anxiety and need of familiarity! It excites me. Just as I am free to choose my stuff, I am free to make a new home for myself (and I will try to make sure the stuff I fill it with isn’t junk!).

1 comment:

Mumsy said...

I wuv you Megsy! (ahem!) :) Forever your Mumsy.