Homefull 1.8: Integrating

Beyond the schlepping, moving involves much integration. Fitting, tastefully, the same stuff into space about a third smaller, twice as big, or just differently-shaped. We completed integration in our last move by renting storage space for all the stuff we could not fit into the place. Yesterday, under the possibly misguided notion that we wouldn’t need any overflow now, I moved most of that stuff into the formerly vast basement. Now it’s hardly half vast.

Renting the storage space never really qualified as integration. It represented a compromise, a somewhat shameful admission that we had accumulated more than we could hold. I’ve visited that space infrequently and always felt like a sneak thief there, as if engaged in illicit trade: Hoarding my past.

Some of the stuff clearly warranted hoarding; perhaps half certainly didn’t. At the time, I had been wrestling with another mid-life crisis and concluded that I really needed all the identity I could retain. Now, I might have grown more sanguine, perhaps finally able to heave some of that encumbering hoard.

My immediate challenge involves turning part of the unfinished basement into a decent pantry. The last place made this easy, since the owners had installed their old kitchen cabinets in the basement. Here, I’ve got five sets of industrial shelving intended to hold pantry as well as our preserved past. There’s attic space, too, but using that requires me schlepping up three steep flights of stairs. The exercise could be good for me, but not if carrying another compromise.

Integration seems impossible until after it’s occurred. It ends an inevitably over-long improvisation which could never be mistaken for mastery. Our politicians could, as Mary Parker Follett sagely advised a century ago, favor integration over compromise, except that route demands very public fits and starts, backtracks and rethinkings, each easily interpreted as simple-minded ineptness. The alternative tough-minded negotiating stances which seem destined only, always, to forfeit something, these somehow play well while the flinty humanity of integration doesn’t.

Integration might be a form of public/private partnership where balancing trumps balance and inquiry betters knowledge. It happens both out-there and in-here; publicly and most privately seeking to find some infinite sum of insignificant infinitesimals that might characterize a satisfying whole, while compromise seems in search of some hole which can be explained as the best we could expect as a whole.

I’m holed up hankering to integrate a real whole here. The move deserves as much.

The Muse integrates tenaciously. Yesterday, we, together, untangled a Gordian knot of christmas lights she figured got tangled during the fateful Christmas of 2001, when we’d managed to light a fifteen foot hemlock without the requisite eighteen foot orchard ladder. She got it lit all right, employing duct tape and coat hanger fashioned into a halo holding about a dozen strings of lights and placed with the help of some cobbled-together long poles. We’d compromised afterward, stuffing the mess into a box which has been following us around ever since. This year, that knotted old cheer can be part of our newly integrated celebration.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus