“How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.”David Foster Wallace
The minimalist mantra of “you are not your stuff” is false in many ways—I can prove it. Just pack all of your belongings tightly into a two car garage and attempt to go about your day. You’ll find yourself reaching & searching for “your stuff” like a phantom limb.
If a messy bed = a messy mind—what are the cognitive effects from fragmenting one’s self across kitchen tables, sectional cushions, bathroom floors, and dimly lit hallways? What are the behavioral ramifications from endlessly tripping over floppy box lids & cheaply made, expensively priced, ergonomic highchairs?
“I am not my stuff” but my ability to function is directly associated with the whereabouts of my little white cappuccino mug—and the baby monitor that has seemingly vanished into thin air. All the beer, and chocolate, and ice cream won’t change the fact that I’ve woken up next to a mountain of underwear. I still haven’t found the water bill or my howler glass.
“My stuff” is slowly killing me—as I rearrange the garage for the fifth or six time—moving enormous—heavy objects around like a sliding puzzle. I am tightly packing my life into grooves, and corners, and hidden places that I am unlikely to return to. In spite of an entire dumpster & an endless stream of donations—my Bargain Shop bin continues to runneth over—with my stuff.
To maintain a sense of footing amongst all the tripping hazards, I am tracking my progress on the hero’s journey. I received the call to adventure. Check. I refused said call. Check. I have reluctantly set off on the adventure, and now I’ve reached the dark night of the soul. I am Luke leaving Dagobah. I am Frodo & Sam. Most of my friends are lost, gone,—or somehow out of reach.
It is now my task to carve a path in the wilderness alone. To learn some sort of lesson & bring it back to The Shire. But in the dim—artificial light cast through fog glass fixtures—the unfamiliar dueling clock noises—and the refrigerator buzz—I am the dying flowers on the table. I am the dirty dishes lining counter tops. I am all of this stuff.
The only thing left is the question—why did I do this to myself? So far—if there is a lesson, or some sort of secret knowledge to be gleaned—it is the sentiment that has been reverberating in my mind—like a lost flangy 90’s grunge chorus chanting—I am an idiot.
Update: I have since found the water bill and my cappuccino mug. Ashley found the baby monitor and my howler jug of which I hope to have filled tomorrow.