Things Own You

Today was filled with packing and throwing things away again. There may be one more day left before I say goodbye to Ann Arbor for good.

While I wrapped my family heirloom full collection of 1973 Looney-Toons collectable glass from Hardee’s in tissue paper my mind drifted back to childhood. During the 70’s I lived in Oakland County, mom drove her VW, there were little used bookshops and art stores on Woodward, and things were good. Decades later I find irony in how little has changed as I drive a VW, stop at book stores, art shops and deli’s along Woodward and have now returned to Oakland County. There are no Hardee’s to collect glasses from, but that is little consequence.

There are two other family heirlooms in my possession. At times I am at odds with how I feel about them. One is a table that seats 45 people when all of the leafs are inserted. This separates into pieces that I can carry on my own. It’s size demands that a friend with a truck or van assist me. The second is a desk. The desk is older than the dinning room table. It was my great grandmothers. It may well have custom made for her as it is tiny for me to sit at. Designed before the age of computers, it has no holes in the back. A rugged well-made bit of furniture, it fit easily into the trunk of any American car of the era. It fit into the back of my hatch back for the last several moves as well. But Jenna wants nothing to do with it.

As wonderful as those cherished memories are, rekindled with each use or packing, I find that the responsibility of ownership is often a burden. I am nearly responsible enough to keep plants. If this continues I may be ready for a pet of my own one day. If that works, I might be ready for a real relationship. Moving would be much easier to throw things away and continue the disposable lifestyle. Instead I must take care things do not break while packing and have people help me move yet again.

For some time I have not wanted to own anything that I could not move on my own or toss out. That time has passed.