I kept the wrapper to a piece of gum he gave me

The last time I was in this airport was a lot longer than just a year and a half ago, it was another lifetime. Not that it means anything to me, I mean, being in the airport again. I’m not sentimental about it.

The last time I was here I was much more of a sentimental person. The lady who sat by me on the plane even asked me if my lifestyle, living out of a suitcase, had made it easier to de-clutter. I admitted that it had. I have found freedom in simplicity and in emptiness. Freedom from sentimentality. If I weren’t so concerned with global warming I would throw EVERYTHING away.

I started getting this way maybe two years ago. I threw away a lot of things I wish I hadn’t, but I don’t hate myself for it because I have this deep un-met emotional need to have less belongings and to not be so emotionally exploited. I wish I’d held on to my favorite pair of jeans.

I watched a movie- “Everything is Illuminated” -the main character is a collector who keeps all these random things as a way of preserving the past. It’s a complex for him. I was that way once, maybe even obsessively too. I liked the theme of the movie, the presence only makes sense in light of the past. When we disconnect ourselves from the past we lose our sense of reality, identity, and meaning. Like the Maria Taylor song, “We’ll get no where if we’ve forgotten where we’ve been.”

What I didn’t like about the movie is that the grandfather commits suicide in the end and by the reaction of the grandson we are to understand that it was his way of making peace. He’d spent his life running from the past pretending it didn’t happen. If he had found his peace, he wouldn’t have had to kill himself. That isn’t the appropriate response to finding your peace. My mom and I discussed it, and decided it would have been true if the reaction of the grandson had been, disappointment that he didn’t find peace in this life but hope that he found it in the next or if the grandfather had made peace and been able to live out the rest of his life. As it is, wasn’t all true.

I made my peace with the past by throwing it away. But you can’t forget it, you can’t deny it, otherwise you end up in a bath tub with slit wrists…apparently. Maybe it’s the difference between remembering the past and worshiping it, or being haunted by it.

Still I’d give anything for that pair of jeans.

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One thought on “I kept the wrapper to a piece of gum he gave me

  1. Bloodypaindeath

    This is an interesting thing to think on. I went to visit an ex-girlfriend last year and she now essentially has: a couch to sleep on, a shrine and meditation area, a yoga mat, and some food in her kitchen. When we dated, she had stuff. Lots of stuff. Her non-material Buddhist reform was her way of re-connecting with herself so that she could recognize “true importance” and spirituality. I, on the other hand, always have things and never get rid of them. I think, “Oh what if I need that later” or “What if I want to make a collection out of those movie/concert tickets I have lying around.” I’m force-fed documentaries about artists who just like to collect stuff that they use or that inspires them. So much so that it litters their studios and they can’t move around. I suppose there are some of us who keep things just because there really isn’t anyone around to tell us to move it. So I wonder if maybe I have some deep-seeded sentimentality pertaining to my past. It’s certainly not something I recognize or put too much stock in. I’ve got loads to say on this right now but I won’t be that guy. Anyway it’s probably one of those pesky things that is never the same for two people because we are all beautiful snowflakes. You know, every sheep is different too. Except the cloned ones. That analogy is broken.

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