Tuesday, 26 June 2012
The Shocking Duplicity of My Existance Or Confessions of A Minimalist Dumpster Diver
Before my grandfather sold everything he possessed to move to Haiti, he owned three antique\junk shops in the Chatham area. My memories of him begin with hot sunlight, dust billowing up behind an old rusty car as we drive down the dirt lanes of the prairies in search of dusty treasures for sale in someone's barn. Some colorful beads, some unusual glassware, something strange and unexpected. I was a very little girl but I remember the thrill of possibility.
And this my friends, is the shocking duplicity of my nature. I have written about the appeal minimalism has for me and it does have appeal and value, there is no doubt. I have admitted that I sometimes panic if I feel too "cluttered" or that I own too many things. I do donate unused and unwanted things on a very regular basis and feel renewed, cleansed even. I crave a simplistic and zen-like existence. Wandering the countryside, writing haiku's, wearing orange robes, communing with birds and foxes...I may be mixing up religions here but you get the idea.
So how can the following situation make any sense at all when measured against my zen-like aspirations? Per comes home from work. Announces that he is going to take a load of garbage to the dump. I shrug my shoulders nonchalantly. I don't really care. Then he says that they have a room there where they put the good items and after people have unloaded their junk, they can browse there and help themselves to anything they like. These words! They're like magic! Suddenly all my minimalistic ambitions fall away and I jump up eagerly announcing that I'm ready! Let's go immediately! And the thoughts that fly through my head...oh my goodness...oh my goodness...Colleen...breathe deeply...what if there...is...a long lost...Munch painting there in that little room full of treasure?! What if??!! I steady myself but my head is on fire as I contemplate the possibility of discovering some famous and beautiful work of art under time's veneer of dust and grime. I run upstairs. Should I change clothes? Oh my goodness! I'm so excited! (Disclaimer: I never said I was cool.) I want to shout out the window, tell the neighborhood of my evening's thrilling plans but instead I just hug it to myself like some delicious secret. The dump!
It's like how I feel when I enter second hand bookshops or second hand shops of any sort for that matter...I just have to rush around and look at everything. Then I go around more slowly, more reverently, examining, searching out treasure. It's a heady rush.
My own father has no shame about actually taking chairs and pieces of furniture out of other people's garbage piles and he has found and refurbished some amazing pieces this way. I love used things, I love books that have been scribbled in by previous owners, hope chests that have been full of someone elses dreams. But see I love these things just for themselves, for myself and I do believe that's where the difference lies. In this affinity I feel with the woman who likes the same Edward Thomas poem that I do and made note of it in the margin of the book I picked up at a stall in Aberdeen for example. I don't like these things to impress other people (and yes I'm aware of just how impressed they would be.:) I like them because I just do.
So you see how very complex this situation is. This seeking (and succeeding) in living a life uncluttered and yet this intense passion for sifting through heaps and piles of discarded junk at junk sales, in antique shops...at the dump...
In case you're curious, I found no long lost Munch (are there even any long lost Munchs out there?) but I did find that someone had actually thrown away a Giovanni Guareschi book in perfect condition! For those of you not familiar with the name, the books are genius. They are stories written about a communist leader Pepponne and his nemesis, a Catholic priest Don Camillo. They are utterly wonderful and hilarious and for the most part, very difficult to find and when you do, they cost you. And I found one at the dump here in Norway. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.
Peace out, from Grunge Queen Colleen