Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Moving: stuff around

I know of at least half a dozen people who have moved residences in the last 2 months. And they know even more people who have moved. It seems like everyone is moving. And me? Well, I've been selling all their leftover stuff at a garage sale.

My feng shui teacher tells me that in each place we live in, there are lessons to be learned. When we're done with the lesson, we move into new a space. Though it's quite possible that we move into a place with the same exact lessons, for the most part it's good to be in a new place.

I've got no plans on moving anywhere. I'm just moving stuff around. My partner's family is coming up for a visit. Where are they staying? place. They're very good incentive to clean. And though I'm not moving, I can move stuff around to make my place feel like a new place.

Now, since I live alone, my place is pretty messy. Though many of us our really slobs at home, we really don't want anyone to know. But, it's been good. It's good to move stuff around, go through piles, divide them into shred, recycle/trash, save. Throwing stuff out feels good. The SO, who isn't the biggest neat freak either, has been helping me out. Cleaning other people's stuff is easy, there's no emotional attachment to anything. You just see the pile and think if it ain't something that's useful now, it's gone. I can always clean other people's stuff. When I clean my stuff, I get sentimental or I think that I might use something some day. But what really happens is that 1) I forget where any of this stuff is and 2) I end up buying the part anyway. I have 5 rolls of twine and 6 rolls of tape because of this. sigh. Fortunately, you can always use twine and tape.

We finished the main bedroom a few days ago and did most of the living room. We've got 3 more days.

Of course, when you're done cleaning, then you have a garage sale. We had our second garage sale a few weeks ago. Teamed up with other folks who also don't have garages to have a garage sale in Alameda, the Mecca of garage sales. In this town, it's a religion. For the first sale, we posted in the Alameda Journal. We met all the "regulars." There's the woman looking for costume jewelry, the Chinese guy looking for tools, etc. And they all know each other. When you say the sale is at 9, they come at 8 and ask if you need help bringing stuff out.

Garage sale regulars have a sense of urgency in their lives. For one, they double park. Sometimes they turn off the engine, sometimes they don't. If there are people mingling in the garage, they don't. It's as if they think that while they take this time parking, that next great Antiques Roadshow item will be bought and gone. There are others that do a slow drive by. You can tell they're regulars when they say that $1 is too expensive or pricey.

We don't really care. To us it's junk or stuff we can't/don't use anymore, so as long as we don't have to haul the stuff back home, whether we get a buck for it or not, it's all good. Garage sales are pretty busy for the first couple of hours then there's the noon to 2 lull, then picks up again during the last hour.

The last hour is by far the best. This is when you can meet the marathon garage sale folks, the ones looking for the last minute deal on stuff. And we gave them that deal, $1 per bag. Guranteed there will be a van full of folks come by and take a van full of stuff with them. This time it was 4 Filipino women whose mini-van was already filled to the brink. But at a $1 a bag, your imagination goes nuts. You think, the thing is not perfect but for a $1, I'm sure I could find someone who wants it.

It's all just stuff. But we put so much into it: what is once was, what it could be. We rarely think about what it's doing now (mostly sitting in closets gathering dust). It doesn't become something magical until we touch it and do something with it and live a part of our lives with it.

Speaking of "Cleaning House," I'll be doing several readings in the SF Bay Area for "Going Home to a Landscape" (November 2003, Calyx), an anothology of Filipino women's writing which contains my poem entitled, "Cleaning House". November 1 at Pusod. November 16 at Bindlestiff. December 2 at City Lights.

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