Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Another Man's Junk

I am a packrat. A life long pack rat. And today I divested myself of some packed junk that was acquired over 20 years ago. It was an odd feeling tearing down some piles instead of building them up. I thought it would be more emotionally draining. Oddly I feel better for doing it. Oddly I felt more empowered with each thing I threw onto that junk man's trailer.

It all began because of a crumbling wall. A much needed renovation project in the basement meant I had to find a home for some of the acculumation that was in the way. But because the junk in the basement was mostly keeper stuff, I had to make room for it out in the shed. Which meant that some room had to be found in the shed.

The shed is a temporary metal building I built in 1985 out of scrap wood and old metal roofing. It was to be but a brief repository for all that good stuff I brought home whenever I found it. I filled it by 1986 and buttoned it up tight. The light of day had not shone on the wonderful recyclables inside for over 20 years. And yesterday I cracked it open.

With only a vague memory of what I had jammed inside, I was actually excited at the prospect of rediscoverying the lost treasures I had felt important enough to stack and and pack inside. Just what prizes would I pull out and would I be able to part with any of it? My expectations were under-whelmed by the reality.

The other man's junk I had lovingly packed away as my treasure had gone full circle over these last 20 years. For the most part, it had all turned into or decayed into junk again. Why I felt stashing 50 to 60 empty plastic 5 gal buckets was a good idea is beyond me. And just what was I going to do with that full size hang it on Main Street street light? I would have had to score a 30 foot telephone pole just to hang it. The 10 or so truck tire tubes puzzled me. A few old bikes, some rugged steel tables, many buckets of bolts, screws, nails and scrap metal all kind of mixed up with a wide assortment of lumber chunks. There was no rhyme and obviously no reason behind this inventory. A mad man had created what I found inside.

So I emptied the building out. I spread everything over the side yard so I could really evaluate it's worth to me now. 3/4 of it was placed on a local trash guy's trailer and the rest I put back inside. I had more room than I needed for the stuff from the basement.

But the clean up bug had bitten me. Most of the stuff I removed from the basement went on the trailer also. Not satisfied with just that, I started looking at the lumps up against the house that had started as orderly piles of good stuff and were now unrecognizable pucker plantings springing from rotted blue tarps. 5 more bikes and over 100 bike wheels went onto that trailer. Some of the piles were so old, saplings 5 inches at the butt had grown through the frames of the bikes and the spokes of the wheels.

When the Sun finally went down, I had filled that 25 foot trailer 5 foot high and the yard seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. I had accumulated this stuff so effortlessly. Getting rid of it was not. I am toasted. When I close my eyes I see junk. Individual pieces and massive piles of junk. I will most likely re run the whole day in some bizarre comedy in my sleep tonight.

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