17 Kamal 165 B.E. (Baha’i Calendar)
Soundtrack in my head: Primal Scream, “Come Together”
Last weekend, a friend I hadn’t seen since 2003 passed through Madison enroute from Rapid City, SD to Chicago, and stayed in my house overnight for
one night. She had been my last roommate in Chicago. We’ve been friends for thirteen years, and have seen each other through interesting phases in our lives. She moved to Rapid City a couple of years ago. We talked for hours until neither of us could stay awake.
With plans to move to Madison foremost in my mind, I rented a room in her condo from September 2002 through January 2003. I moved in with the mutual agreement that I would move out when the opportunity to move to Madison came up. When a co-op—now my current one–called me to let me know they had an opening, she was the one who persuaded me to rent a room with them even though I still had my job in Chicago. I was going to Madison at least once a month anyway, and she convinced me that having residency in both Madison and her place would maximize the opportunities for me in Madison. Renting a room in her condo was also helpful because it forced me to trim down my possessions in
preparation for my move to a co-op house. She was also the first roommate I’d had a long time—I’d lived in a studio or one-bedroom apartment for the previous six years, and having a roommate was probably helpful for the transition from living by myself to living with eleven other housemates.
Coincidentally, I’d set aside the next day to go up into the attic and bring down
boxes of my stuff that had sitting up there largely undisturbed since I moved into this co-op five and a half years ago. These were possessions that were with me in her condo, possessions I had right as I was moving from Chicago to Madison.
My first bedroom in this co-op house was tiny—maybe 7 x 11 feet, and so I had to
make hard decisions as to what keep in there and what I could temporarily part with. I moved out of the room only eight months later, and over the years I have gradually moved to bigger and bigger rooms within the house. But I never went through my stuff in the attic until last week. Going through these possessions was like going through a time capsule from 2003. I knew basically what was up
there, but had forgotten about a lot of this stuff.
It was interesting what I found. I found a number of books I knew I had, including “Is It Utopia Yet?”, a history of the Twin Oaks intentional community in Virginia and two excellent references books entitled “The Witches’ God” and “The Witches’ Goddess.” But I found books I’d forgotten I still had, including two Kurt Vonnegut books (“Slaughterhouse Five” and “Cat’s Cradle”), Richard Bach’s“Illusions”, and a book about bioregionalism called “Dwellers In The Land.”
I also found a handkerchief I bought at a kiosk at a train station in Osaka, Japan.
I’d been told that it is good to carry around a handkerchief in Japan because most Japanese bathrooms don’t have towels or hot air dryers. I was on a pilgrimage as a Mahikari member, and as I’ve previously written, I’m no longer a member of that spiritual organization.
I also forgot about some artwork I had. One is a print called “The Scweam,”
which spoofs Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” by replacing the panicked person in the foreground with the cartoon character Tweety. I also re-discovered some Southwestern style paintings on bark that my parents gave me a number of years ago and that I never got around to framing. I was also reminded that I have a Leonardo Nierman painting that my parents once owned, which I appropriated while they were getting rid of stuff for one of their moves.
I have several boxes that have dishes and pots and pans from when I lived by myself. I don’t know when I will use them again, but it doesn’t make sensefor me to just get rid of them. A lot of the cookware is good quality stainless steel cookware I inherited from my grandparents.
I also discovered a Swatch watch that my aunt and uncle had been given to me as a high school graduation present. It was a pretty popular style then—it had a normal clock face but had a dot in the middle with the numbers 13 through 24 marking military time. It was made of cheap plastic, but that watch lasted fifteen
years—all the way through college, the Global Walk, several apartments, several relationships, and several jobs. When it broke down for the last time, I guess I couldn’t throw it away because it was an artifact from a remarkable time in my life. But I had no problem throwing it away this time.
A lot of otherthings were thrown away, too. I filled two trash bags and I have a
huge box of stuff I intend to take to Goodwill.
Nevertheless, it was fascinating to look at those artifacts from a previous life. I
have changed so much since moving to Madison. I am still changing…