Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Can Randomness Just Be Filed Under R?

They say that packing is hard, dividing your life up into little boxes, even trying to label a box that has your diploma and sorority pictures and also candle holders and candles and a bunch of other pictures and a few martini glasses and a few CDs that you threw in at the last minute plus the earrings you were wearing at the time that you packed, so that when you seal up the box and you reach for a pen, you are stuck, wordless. It’s impossible to summarize the contents in just a few words, and so you don’t. The LT unpacked a box for me a few days ago and stopped dead. “What is it?” I said. “There’s so much…so much…RANDOMNESS in this box!” He threw up his hands. “I don’t even know what room to put it in. You decide where it goes.”

What’s worse, though, is unpacking, especially unpacking boxes that haven’t been labeled because they contain so much randomness, so you’re not sure what to expect, and so you unpack and find pictures, pictures of lost time, reminders of friends you no longer speak to, pictures commemorating moments that seem SO far away now. I found a picture of me at 19, not only thinner (well, more muscular, anyway) but also so YOUNG looking, same hair and eyes but the smile so unbridled, so unsuspecting, so innocent somehow, although I wasn’t particularly drama-free at nineteen either. I am holding hands with my brand-spankin’-new sorority sister and look happier than I ever remember being in my entire life. It’s not so much that I’m thinner, because I know I wear the same size now: it’s the fact that the weight of the world had not yet settled on my shoulders. I was not yet burdened, my later experiences had not yet attached themselves to my arms and legs like so many bumps of cellulite, so many leeches.

This box, this box of randomness, contains so many surprises, so many doors that I chose not to open, so many paths I chose not to take. And also so many paths I DID take: joining a sorority in college, choosing to go to college far away, choosing a really hard major and then adding another one, relationships I tried, jobs I had. Each picture or postcard I pull out is a shock. I can’t categorize or summarize; I don’t know where to put them, if I should throw them out or what, will I miss them, can I just stash them somewhere and make these decisions in another month? Will I be more ready then?


alex said...

I realize you are probably asking these questions hypothetically, but the solution is rather simple (as I see it). You just have to approach it as you would a system of equations. Solve what you know (unpack the stuff that has a defined spot) and then the solution to your undefined variables will present itself...unless you have an under/over -specified system. In that case, your box stays in storage.

But don't throw that stuff away. If you look at something and it brings back a memory, you should probably keept it. When you're famous and writing your memoirs, you'll appreciate having that stuff around.

Kat said...

What you're looking at is a "keepsake box" that is meant to do with exactly what you're doing. Looking at the items, looking at your life and reflecting on things then and now. The solution? Buy a prettier air-tight container that is more friendly to stacking on a shelf or under a bed and one day you'll be ready to let go and clear out some of the things.

Aarwenn said...

alex, I think I love you. Also I think my system is under-specified.

And kat, it's true, and I even have a pretty, non-cheesy, very large tin with dogs on it that is currently serving that purpose. I'm more trying to figure out which photos to display and how I will display them. And that is hard, both emotionally, and also logistically! I think I'm going to string picture wire up and hang photos with photo clips, like in a gallery.