an unexpected question

Yesterday, we met with a couple for a short time to catch up before we take off. They insisted on coming over to our house so that we wouldn’t have to travel to them. Thoughtful enough, except we spent a very long time cleaning up enough to have a decent-looking place (and then to spend the same amount of time bringing everything back afterwards [insert smiley face]. It’s all moving towards the goal, no worries, all good.

During our time together, we ended up doing the wives talking and the husbands talking, and we still have to catch up on what we said cross-conversation. To the wife, I mentioned my project of writing about this process of clarification, of figuring out what things have value and why they should. She was intrigued, and then asked a valuable question:

“What are the things that you are choosing to take that are perhaps surprising?”

Which surprised me.

Why? I realized how easy it’s been to get rid of so many things. As I’ve said/written, it’s been easy and valuable to give things to real people, rather than to an anonymous organization. I’m still doing that, though. In fact, we’ve got a gazillion more bags going to Big Brother tomorrow morning. (I love that name.) And T and I dumped a whole back of a van full of toxic waste stuff at our town annual dump day, with men in white uniforms sorting our non-garbage somewhat surreally.

While we were waiting in line, the man from this post in 2009! (that I just referenced the other day here) came over to T’s van and asked if we had any car batteries or monitors. As a matter of fact, we did. T engaged him in a little conversation, and he was surprisingly pleasant, as I have seen him on his hunt all over town like a real fierce hunter-gatherer.

The rest of us are so faux, getting rid of things that are so inconsequential.

So back to her question. And the answer is


So many people have told us to offload the books. After all, you can go virtual and read almost everything online. They just take up space. And how many times do you go back and read things over?

They’re right. Those cartons and cartons of books have been off-loaded to the town library sale. So why is it that one mover, when coming to give us an estimate for how much it would cost to ship all of our belongings, said to me, “You have a lot of books, don’t you?” Yes. Because we have a lot of books.

And by writing this just now, something else became clarified. Belongings. What a powerful word!  So this is the goal now: to make belongings belong.

Great. Another task in my to-do list.

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