Thursday, March 4, 2010

Arriving Somewhere but Not Here

I relocated my office yesterday. Technically, because of my advanced years and pronounced tendency to dodder, I was overwhelmed with volunteers to help, so numerous that my primary function was decorative rather than functional which widened the gap between promise and performance to a chasm.

I've been in a ground floor office for the last ten years, I realized as the very last boxes of stuff were packed, taped up and made ready for transport...up five stories in the same building I've working in to the 'newly, renovated' (some eight years ago) office space that is, literally, eighteen paces from where I had my first office when I returned to the Land of the Round Door Knobs in the fall of 1991.

Moving, if nothing else, helps keep us from becoming totally possessed by our possessions. I have difficulties letting go of anything, people, problems, paperwork. I work to hold on to all of it for as long as I can, though even I was hard pressed to figure out why I saved a half page of activities from August of 1998. If I believed in reincarnation, and had it in my wallet, I could almost rationalize it, but in a desk drawer, under a bag of finger puppets we bought me many years earlier in the Ikea in New Haven, CT?

Many people think of Ikea as the Swedish furniture store, though I'm not sure in the Twilight's Just About Last Gleaming, much of it is actually made at or near Trondheim. I'm thinking more a half a world away where labor, materials and energy prices help keep costs low and shareholder's returns high. Anyway, Ikea has a great cafeteria with excellent, and cheap, eats and, when you know where to look, a killer assortment of finger puppets. I have a set of ten animals, that actually look like the genuine article, though much smaller to fit on your finger.

The first thing I did after we bought them, was put them on, in preparation for the drive home. A word of advice on finger puppets, from Ikea or anywhere for that matter-you need to have someone with you. You need her to put the second set of five on your other hand-it's really hard to put finger puppets on when you already have some on. But the real reason you need someone is there has to be a person to shrink down in her seat and stare without blinking out the front window as traffic slows to a crawl on 95 North because it was built in 1957 when the rate of flow was 20,000 cars a day and now it's more like 20,000 cars an hour while you amuse yourself and other motorists (you believe) by leading the finger puppets in song.

Actually the other drivers smile at you the way they'd look at Ted Bundy hitchhiking as they frantically try to switch lanes. Almost all singalong songs succeed with finger puppets except rounds, such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, unless your shotgun is willing to help out on the bridge and she's usually too busy hissing 'everyone is watching us!' in a tone of exasperation that can only mean a frosty evening when we get back to the house.

That means the finger puppets end up in the bottom of a desk drawer, where now, having been rediscovered, they'll enjoy a brief renaissance before being brought home to disappear forever into the basement. I've developed a belief in an afterlife that has room for a Heaven and Hell, as well as Limbo, and a basement. As an example, while many of my tribe of Sixties Kiddies would argue as to the final destination of Richard Milhouse Nixon, I believe (this is religion, after all) basement is the most logical place.

It took less than two hours to pack up ten years and move it. I spent the rest of the day confronting souvenirs of the paths I've wandered in the last decade (a calendar page from 2003 with a red circle on November 14th is yet another unsolved mystery) and now having to decide what to do with them after successfully postponing that until now.
All my designs, simplified/And all of my plans, compromised. I wouldn't be amazed to find the reason for what I do for a living buried in a desk drawer I'll open later in the week, and even less so when I don't recognize it.
-bill kenny

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