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Other People's Crap

17 October 201204:21PMlife

My crap is important.

Four weeks ago I probably would've disagreed strongly with you there. I'd have spouted something about experiences being important, not things, and how all told I'm really not all that attached to my actual physical stuff. But then me-from-four-weeks-ago moved into somebody else's bedroom.

Living in someone else's room is weird. For starters, there's already a bunch of mess there and it's basically like sharing a room with someone who isn't even there. But I think there's more to it than that. It's kind of eerie. Like living with ghosts.

I can look around my bedroom right now, and look at any item, and tell you its origin. Literally every single item. They all have stories and memories and tiny bits of my consciousness anchored to them. Like, on the desk in front of me is an alarm clock I was given when I turned about... I dunno, seven? We were on holiday in Canada for christmas, and I really wanted an alarm clock. My mum had to go around hunting in every store in Vancouver trying to find an alarm clock that actually looked like a proper alarm clock. And even though it's plasticky and doesn't actually ring (it beeps instead), I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and I still have it. A few years later the fake hammer broke off. I kept it for a while, hoping to fix it, but eventually it got lost. When I moved into my current bedroom when I turned 12, I stuck it on my desk, and it sat there for about 8 years, until about six months ago I wondered if it still worked, and stuck a rechargable triple-a in there. It still keeps perfect time.

It's after midnight. I should go to bed. LOL JKS AM WRITE BLAG.

So here's the kicker. Someone else's room is very obviously not devoid of stories. A hotel room, or even a guest room in someone's house, is devoid of stories. It's full of knick-knacks, sure, but they're in there for aesthetic value or functional value, because if they were important to the owner they wouldn't be in a guest room. That's fine. No stories I can cope with. But living in someone else's room? It's immediately obvious that stuff is in there for the same reason that you have stuff in your room. Everything in there has a long and detailed life story, which you don't know. It's like being inside someone else's head.

I guess the reason I never noticed this is that I've never lived somewhere similar enough before. Like, the person whose room I stayed in is a mate of mine. We share a lot of interests, so a lot of the crap in the room is fairly similar, but it's not the same as my crap, which is the disconcerting part. It's similar enough to remind me of mine, but different enough to be jarring.

It's also a pretty bleak reminder that a lot of this stuff - which we value and have stories for and which make home feel like home - is actually mass- produced. Someone else will look at my clock (or I'll look at their bedside clock) and see something cheap and plasticky and slightly broken. I see 'my alarm clock', and I'd be slightly horrified if you suggested I chuck it. I guess this is sort of building up to something, but I'm not quite sure how to articulate it. I think it's probably something along the lines of 'home is where the heart is', where heart is a metaphor for plastic clocks with which you're entirely too familiar.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

It's weird to be home.

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