When i woke up early, even a bit earlier than usual, i was pleased. i had slept through the night, a rare treat for an old man.
i fed the cats and began my morning ablutions. As i brushed and flossed my teeth, i looked in the mirror and began to think about…stuff. All kinds of stuff.
i considered how stuff seems to have accumulated, surrounded me. i wondered if all this stuff made my life better. Hmm…
Hey, until i was about 40, i didn’t have a lot of stuff to deal with in the morning. My ablutions lasted maybe ten minutes, if that. i brushed my teeth, washed my face, combed my hair, and left for work. Sometimes, i had a quick bowl of cereal with orange juice or ate on my ship with lots and lots of coffee in the morning, but my morning routine was nothing compared to now. And now, the stuff under the sink and in the drawer is extensive to say the least. There are lotions; salves; sunscreen (now apparently another source of cancer); contacts, extra lenses, rinse for contacts; batteries and cleaning devices for the hearing aid; nasal spray and rinses; floss. About the only thing removed from this list over the past fifty years is hair cream (no longer needed), after shave, and cologne (apparently men can make people sick with these aromas, but women’s stuff is okay; go figure).
We have a lot of stuff. One of my major considerations whenever Maureen and i discuss the possibility of moving or buying down is what the hell are we going to do with all of this stuff. Then i think, why the hell are we keeping all of this stuff? i mean our children aren’t going to want much of it or perhaps none of it when we are gone. And i’m pretty sure posterity isn’t going to give a damn about it. And i know we are not going to use at least half of it and don’t need at least half of the other half.
But we like it, or at least most of it. There’s the high chair sitting in the garage. It needs some repair and begs to be refinished. It is not of the child safety variety that cost more than my first house. It is wood. The bottom of the tray has worn or rotted off. A wood bushing where a screw fits the tray onto the seat so the tray can be put down for use or lifted is missing. A wood slat has fallen off the back of the chair. It is painted brown and that paint is now of several colors. It was not painted when it was used from 1944 to somewhere in the early 1950’s. It was bought for me. My sister used it. My brother sat in it for several years. It was put in the attic. My parents gave it to Kathie and i for Blythe to use. We painted it brown (earth tones were the thing in 1972. i have had this idea of refinishing it and giving it to Blythe to use as a plant stand or interest piece. But Blythe and Jason’s house is small, and all of this is really just a pipe dream of mine, and i’m pretty sure it will not make it to the top of my priority list. And it takes up space. But i know as i write this, i ain’t gonna toss it. Not yet.
And so it goes as i mentally go through all of the stuff we have. Finally, i decide i will have it arranged to get one of those junk removing outfits to go through the house and get rid of all of my stuff when i die, take it to the dump and dump it. Maureen can keep what she wants, which won’t be any of my stuff, which somehow has been designated as stuff to keep in the garage.
i make coffee and do the preliminaries for breakfast. i retrieve the newspaper and sort it so Maureen can read all the news and the “food” section which is in today’s edition, and put the sports section and the business section next to my table setting. Don’t laugh. The business section is not there for me to read that stuff. It also contains the comics. As i commented to Judy Gray recently, i don’t read any of that other stuff anymore. i check the headlines, but i simply don’t wish to get depressed in the morning when i read all the bad news, and it’s all bad news as far as i can tell.
While Maureen is still sleeping, i enter my home office for many reasons, one of which is to write this, which came in mind this morning during the ablutions and calls me to this infernal machine, and i look at all of the stuff, especially the wires. For most of my life, i had an all-in-one machine with no wires, not one. It was called a typewriter. It did not have a scanner, but it printed what i wrote instantaneously. It did not have to be charged with anything other than my fingers and my brain. It clacked when i hit the keys. It made me think. i dug into the Webster’s Unabridged, Roget’s Thesaurus, occasionally a French to English translation book, and more rarely an Italian to English translation book. It often inspired me as i saw my words appearing after the keys passed and the clank of the return lever put on its own exclamation point. No wires. i think i have one of last ones somewhere up in the garage attic.
But with wires and magic signals in the air (of which has electrons and invisible charges i figure will eventually be discovered to cause some kind of disease or mental disease), there is so much more knowledge (and misinformation, perverted political messages, and oh so much more) available, and its easier and you can scan stuff and insert photos and it even checks my spelling and screws it up even more than i normally do. It’s easier. Bah, humbug.
i return to the kitchen, after several stretching exercises, for my morning medicines. i only have a few prescription pills, but man, i’ve got a pickup bed full of over the counter stuff, mostly extra elements for addressing old age proclivities.
Being old ain’t so bad yet. Oh, i have some aches, occasional pains, and am a great deal stiffer than i used to be. But i don’t have to comb my hair. And i can dress anyway i want to (as long as most of this old body is covered) and be considered quaint or old fashioned.
And old gives me the license to whine about how i miss the good old days. But i forget, and i forget a lot nowadays, that if there had not been change, i would most likely be dead. i bitch about all my doctor’s appointments, but had it not been for those doctors and the new detection devices and the medical advancements and treatments, something that killed a number of my relatives and friends from the older generation i am sure would have killed me.
i curse the current state of politics and the lines in the sand. Yet when i read about the history of our country and recall the political cronyism, backdoor deals, criminal acts, and philandering that allowed prejudice, bias, immoral behavior, and subjugated people based on gender, color, religion, etc. to a subservient or worse role, i think we are better off…with a long, long way to go.
i must interject here i still believe the ideas promulgated by our founding fathers created the best system of government yet possible, and it’s the people who have screwed it up, and the difference is all the other systems would not allow those who protest now to protest at all, and those other systems would allow those in charge to be worse than they are under our system, and we need to fix what we got, not come up with something new. That equality and independence go hand in hand with accountability and responsibility and caring for our fellow humans, not fear, hate, revenge, and retribution. ‘Nuff said.
Maureen comes out and begins to prepare breakfast. i have fresh fruit, eggs, juice, coffee, and occasionally when she so deems i need it, Tennessee Pride Country Sausage. Our breakfast routine, with newspaper reading, and exchange of ideas usually breakfast takes an hour or more.
When it’s over, i normally clean up. There is…yep, a lot of stuff to clean up. Maureen has a cupboard full of spices, and oils, and lord knows what. My mother had some spices in her cabinet, but i don’t recall her using much more than salt, pepper, butter, and bacon grease. Condiments of all sorts fill our refrigerator and another shelf in the cupboard. Growing up, i remember salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup, with some rarely used hot sauce somewhere.
But you know what? i’m enjoying my stuff. i just won’t forget when i didn’t have so much.