Shinybass journal entry 12-19-11
A sad reality hits when you start to get ready for Christmas. First – without a solid plan of storage from the year before, your tree, lights, and decorations could be in the middle of the ‘pile’ in the attic. This makes sense because usually you figure I won’t need it all for another year. This usually sucks, however when attempting to retrieve your holiday cheer. Or maybe it is in the middle of the attic because you have accumulated that much stuff in the past 11 months, and the decorations kept getting shoved to the back. I don’t use my attic (the entry is about a foot square, prompting me to wonder about the evolution of man, because whereas we were smaller in the past, I don’t think we have hit an evolutionary ripple in the past 65 years), but rather my basement, which is a happily cluttered place, strewn with guitar cases, golf clubs, and a few power tools. The Christmas tree is in the same corner it always is, so finding it is easy. It’s that walk past everything else that makes it hard.
And not because my basement is built into the side of a mountain and I have to rappel down a crevasse to find the mangled and intertwined strands of plastic and lights, but rather because of the ‘stuff’ I have in my basement. Things I haven’t used in years. Things I haven’t seen in years. Things that haven’t seen sunshine in years. Yet, they are somehow still in my possession. I suppose this is why garage sales were invented, for a little cleansing. This time of year, which is full of reflection, is a great time for a little cleansing. You find those things you don’t need and get rid of them. I found a full garbage bag of unnecessary things from my desk last night. Don’t call me a hoarder – I threw lots away, and was able to admit my shame. Plus, with the fiance moving in, I sort of had to. (And there is the REST of the story).
But new living conditions or not, take a good look around – how much stuff do we really need? I remember a trip we took to Kosrae with the USO. We asked the locals for wood carvings, so we ended up in the woods, where we found a man living in a two room shack, no bigger than a storage shed, who did carvings. He had been cutting coconuts, so he had a table in the back full of them, but his house was incredible – a bed, a small, primitive nightstand, and his kitchen was basically a pot and a fire area. And he lived right across the street from the Pacific Ocean. I was humbled to see how he lived, with all the ‘things’ we gather (although I am convinced he worked for the government, pushed a button, and his underground fortress opened up).
As we get into Christmas and our annual ‘Flocking to the mall’ rite of passage, the reminders of too much stuff rings all over the place. As you are shopping, do you ever stop and think ‘why am I buying this for them?’ My Mom put out an APB a few years back stating that she ‘Didn’t want anything that could gather dust’. So I guess vintage wine is out, Mom? I totally understand where she’s coming from. I look around and see stuff in my house that I just don’t use, or frankly just dust around. This is why I have moved my present requests to a few select items. I will list them and explain why I think everyone should be giving and receiving these presents.
1. Books. Not Kindle or Nooks – but printed on actual paper books. This is pretty obvious as to why they are important, but let me explain – to get away from an electronic device for a few moments a day has sadly become our relaxation time, when it used to be that we would only fire up a device to play a game or unwind. How about turning all the crap off and read something…And I understand that books need dusting, too, however, a good book is worth the trouble. 2. Coffee. It’s good for you, it’s bad for you, whatever. I don’t care. I consume it, as do many millions of others, and that’s the thing – we consume it, so there isn’t a pile up. 3. Home Depot/Lowe’s gift cards. Because everyone, homeowner or renter or homeless is going to need something from one of these stores at some point in their lives. It’s just fact. And 4. Louis Armstrong 78 records. Because it just doesn’t get much better.
So there’s your holiday gift guide. Easy as pie, even for the hardest Scrooge on your list. And you thought you would be reading about worthless insight from the land of rattling marbles inside of my head. Oh, you just did, it’s just that the marble is stuck in the crack, so it’s not rattling too much. I do hope that each and every one of you have a safe, wonderful, and joyous holiday season, whatever your beliefs. I personally wish you a Merry Christmas because I can’t spell the other celebrations.
See you on the road !