Homefull 2.0: Contained

I finished emptying the storage space yesterday, a four by ten foot treasure trove of irregularities. I disassembled those three shelving units and stacked the pieces in the car. Today, I get to reassemble, place, and populate them so they’ll serve several orthogonal purposes. Oh, the place I’ll reassemble them into currently contains piles of the stuff they’ll contain; a tile puzzle with no missing piece.

Moving amounts to switching containers. If the contents of a life would pour from one space into another, the shift would barely rate as trivial. But life comes in an alarming variety of shapes, sizes, and fragilities, with heavy emphasis on irregular, odd, and brittle. We expect rectangles to hold ovoids. Every single thing initially seems poorly suited to its new space, so moving seems a multi-dimensional mediation.

I’m sure to figure it out, though I’m certain only that I have no freaking clue how I will accomplish this. I wrestle with the persistent notion that I should know, that I should have concocted some grand design to guide my reassembly, understanding that grand and design rarely travel together. The conceit of our age insists that we plan, then track against that plan to control the outcome even though real integration follows a really different path.

I can be confident when predicting that I will spend about as much time reconfiguring as configuring, probably many times more effort. I will certainly discover just how wrong was my initial conception of the problem only after the solution proves unworkable in practice. I will be challenged more by undoing than doing, and I will get to know our stuff even better than I ever wanted to.

I’ll chuck some stuff in frustration and retain some in spite. This integration of present and past, pantry and patrimony, will prove more daunting than negotiating peace in the Middle East. Preserves won’t like sharing shelf space with garden chemicals, and shouldn’t. But where might their lines cross? I’ll be tucking this behind that until some balance emerges.

My emotional entailment will prove defining. Should I forget that it’s something inside me I’m integrating, all could be lost. These pieces of our lives have never been asked to share space such as this, and I’d never once imagined that they might need to. Now they do. I expect some cleverness to emerge, and I will take full credit for it after it does, knowing that I had no idea until the idea found me, and that I can’t rightly claim it as mine. I will claim it anyway.

I will fiddle around before immersing myself into this troubling space. I might well anticipate how clever I’ll feel once I’ve accomplished this great and defining effort, but it’s the swim in the septic tank of confusion I anticipate, not how well I’ll clean up after.

I intend to engage in living today, containing this ragged life in a new container again. I will fail to avoid anticipating the next reconfiguration and the ones to come after that as I sort and stack and imagine what works for here, now. And after, I’ll feel the usual pride in ‘my’ accomplishment, knowing that I served as hands and lightly smashed fingers, containers for some slivers that found me on the way. And this container will hold for several seasons. Our pantry will be accessible again and our life here will be grounded with a basement—well-lit, reasonably clean—organized to serve so many purposes that my original motivating purpose will have disappeared.

The Muse will wonder what got into me, I’m sure, before realizing that I have merely contained my own contentions.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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