I hadn’t heard from Alice for a while, so I popped over to her apartment unannounced with a bottle of wine. The way friends do when they’re hoping for a good gossip session.
“You can’t come in,” she said blocking her door.
When I looked hurt, she responded in a stage whisper.
“There’s a mouse living in my couch. It’s why I’ve stopped having people over.”
I don’t invite people to my place either. Not since we bought a new hide-a-bed sofa from Ikea and after the first week, I walked in on my son standing on the arm rest pissing onto one of the cushions.
Now I don’t even remember what colour the sofa was originally . It’s become a collage of ketchup and milk smears, pen scribbles and something that looks suspiciously like blood. I just chose to ignore the whole thing until my mother-in-law came to visit and requested a towel to put down so she could safely sit on the sofa to watch tv.
It was then that I took a cold, hard look around my apartment, assessing all that I’d accumulated over a lifetime and realized everything I own is crap.
This is never what I intended for my life. I always wanted to be one of those people who searched out unique pieces, lovingly handcrafted by artists and journeymen. So that I could fill my space and my life with beauty. People would say, “Oh my God! What an amazing couch.” I would wave my hand and say, “Oh I got that little piece after lightening hit a tree next to the hut where I was staying and a master craftsman carved it into this two-seater.”
But this little dream was dashed to pieces when I realized good stuff costs money. And so I’ve usually opted for the cheapest possible option – especially since having kids and realizing those little fuckers destroy everything.
The last time I went to Ikea, I had this unsettling vision that everything I was looking at was destined for the landfill in a couple of years. That’s all I’m doing every single time I buy loot bags at the dollar store or a toy at Toys R Us – just adding another layer to that floating island of garbage, strangling sea life out in the Pacific. Last time I heard, this garbage island was the size of Texas. It’s fucking depressing. And now I’m in a funk.
If I continue to live with the crap I have, I’ll be too embarrassed to invite people over and my family and I will live an isolated life. But if I buy new stuff I can actually afford, I’ll just be part of the problem.
And then I think I’m basically an asshole for caring about any of this at all. I also know I’d better be careful what I start inviting into my life with an attitude like that.
I once knew this woman who was basically a hoarder. She was also basically a witch. One time she invited me over to her house for a full moon ceremony. Since I was in one of those head spaces where I was just saying yes to everything, I went along. After casting the circle and calling in the “energies” she asked that all the clutter be removed from her house and from her life.
Three days later her house burned to the ground.
So I’m just going to put a funky looking tablecloth over my sofa, call up some friends and stop being such a pussy.