Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Human Attachment

My living room is huge without any furniture. I like it this way. Maya and her friend Sarah are using it as a ballet studio, reliving their day in dance camp (I hear Maya barking at her student!). Maya is now playing Bach on her violin while Sarah is dancing to the music. Perhaps we will make it into a music room/dance studio when we return from our year in Ecuador.

It is astonishing that we can live with so little. Most rooms are empty except for boxes. We have one bed for Eric, Maya and I, but for tonight's sleepover, Sarah and Maya will sleep on a mattress in the empty living room. It will be the last sleepover in the house until we return next summer. I gave most of the food away, and packed up most of the dishes, so food is provided as finger food only.

We will live a simple life in Ecuador, and I like having less around me. I have not been missing all my 'stuff'. I worry about not having books to read, but I find myself quite comfortable without the contents of a massive storage unit full of what felt absolutely necessary in my former life. I wonder what would happen if I never returned to my 'stuff'. Would I miss it or would I simply acummulate more and more and more? I have thrown out bags and bags of papers, given away clothes and toys and books and food, and I am not missing any of it.

Eric is home to help pack up the house. He is driving me crazy because his way of organizing is to mess it up first. Whereas I tried to finish off room by room, Eric's style is to attack all rooms at once, so the whole house is a disaster! He is much better than I am at cleaning, partly because he has no difficulty throwing out things. I find myself checking through the piles he plans to discard to be sure none of our treasures disappear. When we moved from Salt Lake City to Baltimore, most of my Oriental rugs disappeared. I was so distraught and whined at Eric about it for months . I contacted United Movers trying to track down the rugs and wanting compensation from them. The rugs were significant, not because they were that valuable or even that beautiful, but I had bought most of them in Turkey in 1985, where my sister Karen and I had traveled for several weeks before Monica's wedding. It was an incredible trip, and part of the fun was shopping for carpets. We spend hours drinking tea and examining rug after rug after rug. During the several weeks in the country, we managed to accumulate so many rugs we were obliged to get rid of our clothes and fill our small suitcases with rugs. When we arrived at Orly airport in our Turkish attire, our luggage was searched and we were accused of smuggling rugs. It did look suspicious that there were no clothes in our suitcases. They were packed with carpets from as far away as Iran and representing most of the styles found in Turkey. Those carpets have been part of my life for almost 25 years! Anyway, when my rugs did not show up in our house in Baltimore, I was horrified and gave Eric such a hard time because of it. After a year or so, Eric found the rugs on the floor of the offices of the construction company. He was told that they had found the rugs in the garbage. Eric came home so happy and threw the rugs all over the floors, eager for a positive reaction from me, and instead of being happy with him I was horrified that he had thrown them out!

So while Eric is clearing out the basement, I have to hold myself back from running downstairs to check and be sure he is not throwing anything out. Of course, part of me wants him to get rid of everything, but even more powerful is the part of me that wants to keep it all. I ran downstairs to tell him to keep all the National Geographic magazines. Will I ever read them? What is there about the attachment we have to 'things'? Humans throughout history have created, stored, valued 'things'.

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