Amassed Stuff 11.15.07

Another birthday. When I contemplate turning thirty, that birthday that folks shy away from like avian bird flu, I actually grin. I’ll have just come back from my trip. Be rearing to go out again. I will have fulfilled something I’ve always wanted to do. Met new people, seen amazing and awful things. I’ll be stronger and braver and more curious. Right?
My friends, fantastic as they are, gathered for my birthday. The girls brought gifts under their arms. They didn’t know that I’d been dreading the upcoming holidays—the birthday, Christmas—afraid I would get stuff. I didn’t want any presents, no more stuff. I had all the stuff I needed, too much, in fact. I successfully filled a 1,200 square foot condo with stuff. I tossed two bags of unwanted stuff every week. My closet was filled to the brim with stuff. Cute stuff. But stuff nonetheless. And every time I walked around my house, I freaked out about what I was going to do with all my stuff. My books, especially. My beloved books. One box, I told myself. I’ll keep one box of books, and that’s it. Never mind that I have eight bookshelves packed like the Amistad at home and another bellowing bookcase at school. One box. I could do it. I had to.
My best friend, Heather, handed over a HUGE bag from Restoration Hardware. Inside was the most comfortable blanket I could imagine. Winter (yes, we have that ill-fated thing in San Diego, too) was rapidly approaching, and I could see myself hammering away at the keyboard under the plush blanket. “I just wanted to get naked and curl up in it,” she said to me. I contemplated doing that before returning it to the store, too.
But I knew I already had two great sofa blankets at home, and when I pictured a doll-housed-size moving box just for three blankets on my sofa, I knew I had to return it. Which was a bummer, because Heather never throws or gives away gifts. She saved a paper-thin beach towel with two tigers on it for years because her mother gave it to her. She’s the kind of amazing gift recipient who would wear an ugly Christmas sweater the following year to her grandmother’s house simply because she loved her grandmother. I knew I would have to tell her about needing to return the blanket, and I knew she would be crushed.
“So, I could use the money for the writer’s conference and have one less thing,” I rationalized to Heather.
“You could just not go out for sushi and have that same $50.” She was right. But sushi was for the soul. Though the blanket’s longevity far outlasted fish.
The blanket sat on my sofa for three weeks. It looked good there, all Come-hither-ish with its fluffiness and warmth. I snuggled with it three times before I folded it back into its huge box. I’ll return it next week. (I wouldn’t recommend buying a taupe colored cashmere blanket at the Fashion Valley Restoration Hardware any time soon.) One piece of stuff down, 8,348 pieces to go.


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