Friday, May 30, 2008

Neglect, Regret and Paying Attention

This shot of an old piece of silver in the window of Let's Dish on South Lamar shows the whiffs of neglect. I had a couple of (cheap) silver wine buckets that went off to the thrift store the other day. They needed a bit of polish. Well, more than a bit. I left it to the next owner. I kept an (even cheaper) oversized chrome champagne bucket. I have forgotten just now where I put it but I figure I'll take it to the condo and ice down a bottle of champagne for when the ultimate toast needs to be made.

I've found many things around here that have been neglected I'm afraid. Objects that we thought we'd use left to collect dust. Souvenirs I couldn't leave a foreign land without and yet now sort of regret owning. I have found the relics of old attempts at organization that I now find amusing.

As we pile things in the front room to move to the condo and upset the flow of the rest of the house I regret things not being where I've come to expect them. I've had a few pangs of regret about leaving this place, too, I suppose, but mostly I regret being in the situation of straddling the two properties. I know in advance that whatever I want will be at the other place. I regret that we are doing a bunch of redecoration in the new place because it delays settling in. While still owning the house buys us time to deal with all the stuff I regret having to keep up with this one. I sometimes feel that I didn't enjoy the remodels we did here fully, but then I remember all the great parties in the great room and how much I've enjoyed our master suite for the last four years. I'm using FFP's office now and he probably got a lot of use out of this space. Still. I keep looking at things that I acquired and the promise they held when I paid the credit card bill and think "Gee, did I ever really need that?" If it's a gadget, I often ask "Did I ever actually learn to use it?"

So it goes. Some people are sanguine about using and losing things. If you saw the garage at my dad's place, you'd see that he believed in using, saving, reusing things for a lifetime. I think I got some of that and then mixed with a modern, disposable sensibility that leads straight to neglect and regret.

When I think of the river of stuff that was here in this house over the years but has gone away, I'm surprised there is anything left. But there is lots left. Sitting in piles, looking neglected.

It is one of those times in my life when I feel like it is hard to pay attention to what is going on. We are communicating with scores of people, it seems like, about closing our place, moving some stuff in and painting, building custom furniture, getting new AV equipment. Whenever I have a problem, I hire another expert and then I have to coordinate one expert with another.

But I'm moving on. Someday I'll get out of this house. I will have all my worldly goods in my condo or my other house. I'll forget about things I left behind and then one day, maybe in the window of a junk store I'm photographing, I'll see something and realize "I used to have something like that." But then I won't feel regret. I will feel amusement and relief. And, if I'm tempted, I'll buy the thing in the window.

Today we went to a restaurant for lunch. I picked up a book from FFP's car to read while we ate. Sitting in the restaurant, nothing to do but read it, I realized that I was enjoying it very much. I have had trouble finding time to read with that kind of focus and attention. I wish I thought things would get simpler soon. However, no, they will get lots more complicated before they get simpler. I delude myself into thinking that the day will come when I will wake up in the morning and realize that there is nothing I have to do that day to take care of residences or get rid of stuff and I will find some new way to complicate things and go buy something or plan a trip somewhere or start a project. Or, at least, check a book out of the library that I won't find time to read.

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