Too Much Stuff

2 min
at 11:43 PM

I have become a prisoner of the furniture. What I really want to know is where did it all come from? It seems like yesterday I moved halfway across country with everything I owned in half a Volkswagen Bug. Today I have a house full of chairs, tables, sofas, beds, and lamps, not to mention dishes, glasses, pots, pans, bureaus and closets full of clothes, and hundreds of books and records. Today's possessions would hardly fit in an entire giant moving semi, much less half a VW.

Do I get any joy from all this stuff? Well, yes I do, from some of it. My wonderful comfy bed, the Le Creuset pots, the chair my friend Rolando and I upholstered ourselves - they bring me pleasure. But oh! The freedom of a light load!. . . being able to pull up stakes in a heartbeat, to go somewhere more exciting, or more beautiful, or less complicated. Over the years that freedom progressively disappeared until the last time I made a significant move, from San Mateo to Oakland, I had to hire a moving company. Too much stuff.

Now I've been in this house 25 years. It is what you would call "fully furnished." Even the garage-slash-workshop is fully furnished with every manner of hand tool and power tool. The backyard storage shed is fully furnished with wheelbarrow and gardening and farming tools. The basement is fully furnished with extra refrigerator, chest freezer, stocked shelves, washer, and dryer. When I venture into gridlock traffic here, I weigh the option to maybe live more in the country and have a dog, I get high anxiety just thinking about managing the winnowing out, packing up, and moving of all this damn stuff.

I still don't know where it all came from, but it seems intent on keeping me from going anywhere.

With a Perspective, I'm Dana Hill.

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Dana Hill is retired from a career in the airlines industry and currently tends bar at a Berkeley resort. She lives in Oakland.

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