As I passingly mentioned in my last post, (see, already I’m not procrastinating!) Jamie and I are packing up our apartment in preparation for our move to our new home. Or rather, what hopefully will be our new home should we ever get a closing date. With luck, we will have that date in stone sometime this coming week.

This is a major move, not that we are moving far. We’re not moving out of state. We’re not even moving out of the City. No, we’re moving about a 15 minute walk north of where we are now. We are moving from Manhattan to The Bronx.

Now, while many Manhattanites would see the move from this fair island to the northernmost mainland borough as a major change, that’s not what makes it a major change for me. In the twenty years I’ve lived in NY, I’ve lived in 4 apartments in Manhattan, 3 in Brooklyn and even lived for awhile across the mighty Hudson in Bloomfield, NJ.

What makes this move different is this: I have always been a renter. Now, I will be an owner. Or rather, Jamie and I will be owners.

And so, it was decided that we would purge. Well, Jamie would purge and I would purge a lot. You see, when Jamie’s and my life came together oh those eight years ago, he had stuff and I had… stuff. I had stuff on shelves, I had stuff in closets, I had stuff in boxes that I hadn’t opened in years. We, collectively, had lots of stuff.

When we moved from Brooklyn to our current apartment, it was a fairly quick move and so the pre-move purging process was omitted. Omitted to the point that all our stuff wouldn’t fit into the huge moving truck that we had hired and so the next day we had to rent a van to move the rest of it from place to place. That’s a lot of stuff.

This time, however, due to the drawn out process of buying, we have had ample time to cull the wheat from the chaff (understanding, of course, that even in that process some chaff will inevitably remain, but still…). This has been much easier for Jamie than I. Jamie doesn’t really care for stuff. He cares more about it than he thinks he does, but he is not committed to stuff in the way I am.

Some stuff is useful stuff, stuff that is used. No problems there.

Some stuff is more insidious, it is useful, maybe not right now, but someday, it could be of use.

This stuff is fairly easy to release. It’s been in a box for any number of years and still you haven’t found a use for it. Or else, you are just being foolishly cheap, no one needs 5 bottles of glue or three hundred pens, or even one replacement head for a Sonicare that died months ago. Small twinges of anxiety with some of these tossings, but really, not much.

Other stuff is stuff of memory, of emotion: that cheap plastic flower X gave you X years ago, those cards another X sent you, professing eternal love and committment (and we now see how that turned out), that notepad from a hotel in Berlin from your days on tour; these are the things that seem to have memory locked within them and when gazed upon, they transport you to another time, another life.

These things, as (appropriately ironic, I now realize) the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father said, “Oh horrible, most horrible.” How can I ever rid myself of these? It seems a betrayal of one’s past. Tossing away these things would be like tossing away a part of myself.

But hold on a moment there, Petey, these things don’t magically hold any memories, they are as dead as last year’s Thanksgiving turkey; you hold the memories. If you can’t conjure up a memory of something without this inanimate mojo, then most likely, it’s better forgotten.

That was the lesson I learned, am still learning, with these moving preparations. It has been a very difficult, very necessary and in the end, very freeing lesson. I urge everyone to throw out something they think they couldn’t possibly part with. It is the most liberating thing I’ve done in a long, long while.

And the rest of the stuff is just cool stuff. That stuff is definitely going to Da Bronx.


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