Sunday, April 27, 2008

Letters from a Not-So-Young Narcoleptic

This is about how everyone at my house has looked this weekend! No, not gackingly adorable, but TIRED. I don't know why my problem is, but my body feels like the city has started piping in valerian root through the tap water. On Friday, I thought I was getting sick, because I was feeling all pooped and headachey, so I stayed home from work. The headachey part went away by evening, but the sleepy part still has not gone away.

Yesterday, for a brief hypochondriacal moment, I began to wonder if I didn't have chronic fatigue syndrome. Thankfully, that theory petered out after the 2% of my brain that is not clinically insane again took the reigns and decided that you probably have to have something for more than a day for it to be considered chronic. So, instead of lazing about all weekend, I adopted a Squirrel Nut Zippers, La Grippa approach and told myself that I must go out and dance around (or just clean out my spare bedroom and get some grocery shopping done) before I could allow myself to succumb to narcolepsy and sleep the sleep of the really tired.

I am a little divided on the cause for all this sleepiness. Even when I am tired, I have never been a big napper. For me as desire to nap usually means one of two things: I am getting sick or I am trying to put off doing something I really don't want to do. As it turns out, this weekend had some work that didn't thrill me on the the horizon.

I've often talked here about my "roomening" (a term that encompasses all things involved in making a living space fabulous - everything from mundane straightening up to painting to furniture rearranging to totally redecorating) project. As you may have noticed, it has turned out to be the slowest redecorating in the history of man. In the time since I started, avocado colored appliances have gone out, wood panelling is passé, and the room has actually changed in function from being a bedroom (my bedroom) to becoming a communal space-to-be for writing, sewing, crafting, t.v. watching, etc. While I love the planning and coordinating colors phase of the operations, I am a bit less motivated when it comes to the actual execution part. Worst of all, I am starting to suspect that my hope that magic decorator gnomes will sneak into my house to complete the actual work portion of the festivities while I'm sleeping may not pan out. As you can imagine, this has created tensions between myself and the greater gnome community.

One of the things slowing me down the most is that I have vowed that the roomening will not be complete until I have gotten rid of all of my unnecessary crap and found a perfect spot for holding my necessary crap. I don't know about you, but getting rid of things is really difficult for me. I know that the thing is not the memory, but I can find story/sentimental reason to not get rid of just about any thing I pick up. I try to be tough on myself, but then end up with an inner dialogue featuring arguments like this:

"That crappy notebook with transparencies? Throw that away? You must be crazy! Those are the materials from the last literary translation class I ever taught ten years ago! I might need them some day!"

"What do you mean I don't need that tattered bookmark somebody I don't remember bought me when I was 9? Are you kidding me? Look at that acrylic yarn tassel! Why it's barely frayed!"

"How could you say I don't need a postcard advertising an early 90's production of Blutiger Honig: Das Bienenmusical (Bloody Honey: The Bee Musical)? You make me sick! I thought you supported the arts!"

Ok, I actually am not only keeping that last one, but also planning to frame it. How could I throw away something so fantastic? The play, which was a political satire told via a doomed romance between a wasp and an Eintagsfliege (some sort of fly that only has a 24 hour life span) was so weirdly compelling, so vee vill break zee sird vall! The audience was all seated at little tables lit by candlight and at one point the actors (all wearing bug costumes) came out and yelled at us, while swatting our candles out with fly swatters. How could I not want a memento of that?

At the same time, I have also hit that age where I don't want to be encumbered by stuff. Not that I will probably ever do it, but I would like to know that if I ever wanted to spontaneously hop a boat to China to teach English or plan an extended visit to the Congo or even just have to go underground for a while as the result of my part of some sort of caper (I've always wanted to be involved in a caper, haven't you?), I could do so without having to spend weeks figuring out the logistics of what to do with all my shit while I was gone.

The other tough part about roomening is that you find things that really do have sentimental value - like finding my first musical composition (if you're wondering, it was a waltz - I was a weird kid!) or the box with my dad's baby book in it (complete with a little flaxen lock of baby Dad hair tied with a now 79 year old ribbon) or the German dictionary he bought in the 60's in order to ineptly translate what may have been one of the sweetest attempts ever at writing a love letter. He wrote it in English, then used the dictionary to translate it (quite literally) into German. The result (which my mom still holds among her things) was so goofily endearing that I could cry at how much he loved her. Those aren't the sorts of things one just throws away.

Of course, they make up only a fraction of the things one (especially a packratty one) finds while roomening. So, yes, I probably WILL donate the battered ca. 1990 used copies of Ursela Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy to Goodwill (not because I don't like them, but because I have a job and am trying to talk myself into not feeling guilty about wanting to have nicer copies) just as I will probably donate my high school German dictionary and release my college copy of Janssen Art History into the wild. Yes, the same copy I bought at the Title Wave after returning my original newer, nicer version of it to the campus bookstore just after mid-terms in exchange for shoe money. Man, those were cute shoes!

But, see, maybe I am slowly reforming. A year ago, I would have kept the book, but who needs it when I still have the shoes? Ok, not really. At least I don't think so, but you never know. They could be in one of the boxes in the garage that I have yet to go through, but I don't even want to get into them. I think Johnny Cash may have written "I've Been Everywhere" about one of those boxes. Some of them haven't been unpacked since two moves ago! Meanwhile, I think it's time for a little siesta.

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