Had I known about the collection of stuff I would one day amass, for a few minutes many years ago when I contemplated becoming a Brother of Holy Cross, I would have surely ended up as Brother Alexander Waterhouse-Hayward, C.S.C.
For a few minutes I wondered about being told that I had to go to one of the missions in Africa and that I was to pack. I knew that into a suitcase I would have placed a bible, four pairs of black socks, a couple of black pants, four white shirts, one black sweater and whatever necessary toiletry and underwear I might need. As an extra I could have picked a couple of novels and portraits of my father and mother. And that would have been it.
But now in 2016 after 30 years in one home the detritus of my life is almost overwhelming. It is impossible to give books away and my many years of National Geographic will have to be trashed. Should I keep at least one copy of every magazine I ever had a photograph in?I have hundreds of Georgia Straights and at least 50 covers. What is the use of keeping them? Are they legacy for others?
About 25 years ago my old Sony Trinitron ( I still have a newer Trinitron) sparked and caught on fire. I had to get rid of it. I went to the Vancouver City Dump and paid a special fee. This enabled me to enter a cavernous building that went many (hundreds?) of feet down in what was a spiral route that a huge excavator used. There was one at the bottom. I was allowed by my fee to lift the Trinitron into the air and then listen to it crash at the bottom. I must confess that the pleasure was meaningful.
Today I went to Ikea to buy a kitchen step stool. It is made of one piece and it is solid and sturdy. With my Ikea step stool in the back seat of my Malibu and with the trunk full of that aforementioned detritus I drove a few blocks to a street that had three very large metal bins. With my stepladder I was able to get high enough up the bin to throw the stuff into it. The noise while pleasing to the ear was not as satisfying as that Trinitron of yore.
There has to be at least a few good things going when on is living in Slow Dresden. And getting rid of stuff is that much easier.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.