Sunday, March 15, 2009
Isn't there just one thing in your house that you would really really hate to see destroyed?
Maybe a gift from a loved one, or a family piece you inherited; a gift celebrating a milestone, or some special thing you scrimped and saved for. Perhaps it's the first piece of furniture you bought as a newlywed, or that first antique settee, or that piece of art that took two years to pay off.
There's always something, that in the midst of a party you are always a little bit aware of. What if it got ruined or broken? Would you be cool about it? Burst into tears? Throw a fit? Throw everyone out of the party? Would you pretend it's no biggie until everybody was gone, then spend hours trying to put it back together, or get the stain out of the sea grass rug that weathered years of family use?
After Hurricane Katrina when we first thought everything was gone, we each had a moment of mourning something that was lost. For Alberto it was our archive, our body of historical research on the Argentine tango, years of collecting music, video clips of orchestras and dancers, books, DVDs, photographs, posters, back issues of the magazine we published for eight years, thousands of CDs, his desktop computer and all the back up hard drives.
For me, well I couldn't think of one thing among all the beautiful things that I have accumulated and collected over the years that I would really miss. I was numb with shock.
They say as we grow older that our stuff holds more meaning. We become emotionally attached to it. So over time, these "treasures" are worth more in our emotional bank account than their actual value. They represent pieces of our lives. Even in the midst of the parties we throw, or devastating hurricanes, we can't help but have one eye on that most precious thing. To lose it is unthinkable. It would be heartbreaking, or would it?
Movers have lost my things, the most regrettable was a box filled with all my family photos. Misfortune has forced me to sell off some very prized possessions. After Katrina I sold tons of my things on eBay, a kind of purging to help me let go of things I thought I had already lost.
Of course my heart sank when I thought our house was lost. But I also felt a small relief from the burden of taking care of things. I had Alberto with me. We had our tango shoes and a way to make a living. And I always know I can create a home again.
I never felt seller's remorse on eBay. By the time I sold a Chanel jacket, or my entire collection of couture Geoffrey Beene clothes, I was ready to let them go. I had long ago let that part of my life go that required those things.
You know sometimes something I own gets broken, and I always have the reaction, oh well, it will be fun to hunt and gather again, or that I had the thing for as long as it was meant to be. I have never yelled at anyone for breaking anything in my house. Alberto gets very upset for me and always tries to glue it back together.
He is surprised that I can just sweep up the shards and toss them in the trash can.
As money gets tighter I don't feel so easy peasy about being able to replace things.
I did cringe a little when a visitor was roughing up my Ghost chair (though I wouln't call it the One Thing ha ha).
It was just one of those things I always wanted, and I sold my mother's bamboo arm chair at the height of the Hollywood Regency craze so I could buy that Ghost chair.
When the visitor noticed my look he asked why I was so worried about a plastic chair.
When I said that chair cost several hundred dollars, and it would be a hardship to replace it, he laughed and said several hundred for a plastic chair???? One woman's treasured designer chair is another man's idea of cheap plastic ha ha.
So what do you have that would just kill you to lose, or get ruined, or have smashed into a million pieces?