Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Ineluctable Modality of the Visible

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
William Morris

Ok, this could be a problem. While I’m not ready to debut on the Hoarders TV program, the house I inhabit is also occupied by those whose aspirations toward that doubtful goal are thwarted only by their chronic indolence, low expectations and ultimately, by a failure of imagination.

Yesterday, while discoursing on this very topic, Tech Support Guy reminded me that we only have one junk room. He was referring to the room that is piled eight feet deep and high with the furniture of our descendents to the point where you can open the door, but only the cat can proceed further into the room - as if the entire stack of boxes and furniture was placed there for her climbing pleasure. And who’s to say?

In fairness, TSG is correct. The junk in the rest of the rooms of our home is loosely confined to stacks, dusty corners, and generally reposing languidly on indulgent furniture no longer being used for its intended purposes. In theory, an adventurous archeologist untroubled by any trace of claustrophobia might be able to carefully deconstruct these stacks layer-by-layer and read therein the history of my ultimately futile attempts to disperse the clutter. The trained expert might discern patterns there that might explain my descent into madness.

I could have as likely unscrambled an egg, but there was a time when I tried to organize my home, because I become more agitated in a cluttered environment than a canary in a coal mine.

I now realize that canaries in coal mines don’t struggle - they simply fall peacefully unconscious. Which is totally better than being crushed to death by a toppling pile of old shoes; or being speared through the heart by a broken umbrella knocked off a pile of cardboard boxes filled with broken strings of Xmas lights. Or dying of an anxiety attack brought on by inhaling hazardous waste dislodged in a misguided attempt to dust.

These days, I prefer instead to drink cheap wine and fashion my own creation myth from the clutter slowly burying me. I like to imagine that Chaos might one day arise from deep within the vast unreachable spaces filled with three lifetimes of crap, possibly exploding with a big banging noise from which gods, men and all the other stuff of a new universe might burst into existence from a dispersing cloud old papers, manuals for obsolete software, discarded articles of clothing, paper clips, ancient AOL trial offer CDs, and broken teacups waiting to be glued back together.

For all I know, the precise composition of crap needed to create this new universe might be forming at this very moment deep within the clutter in my junk room, a sort of cosmic spontaneous generation stirring unseen beneath the surface layers. Perhaps the formula lacks only a fragment of a handwritten musical score, a torn antimacassar, or some chipped cowrie shells. I’m sure they must be here somewhere…


grumblebunny said...


Martha in Michigan said...

Erk. I am pretty sure some of the detritus you describe (AOL trial diskettes, old software manuals) reside within in my own piles. And I have absolutely no one to blame but myself, alas.