It’s been over ten years now, but I distinctly recall having made an interesting discovery when my daughter and I were house shopping with a realtor who still sends me cards and calendars. I liked her very much. What I discovered was that I could discern nothing about the people who owned these houses except perhaps how many children there must be and how financially secure their parents were. The houses were all very large and very nice in very nice neighborhoods. There were often nice cars in the driveways or no cars at all because both parents were bound to work to pay for the house and the cars. The beautiful houses were poorly furnished. All of them. There was no art on the walls. No bookshelves bursting with books. Nothing to indicate who these people were or what their interests might be. What were their passions? I wondered. Did they feel passionate about anything at all? No way to tell.
I began to think about the possibility of moving each family one door up or one door down the street (assuming, of course, that the family had equal numbers of children.) I would simply assign the Smiths to live at 310 and the Jones to live at 312 for alternate weeks. I believed that would probably work out. There would be some minimal stimulation in living in a different barren environment. I could provide some joy in a change of wallpaper at least. They would be forced to talk to each other to explain why the Smiths’ two-year-old drew a dragon on the Jones’ living room wall. That would be an excuse for an introduction. It might be the catalyst for starting a real community. But, I don’t entertain fantasies for long enough to develop them into working plans. I tossed the idea. I remembered the houses. I wonder about the people who lived there.
I thought about this experience the other night when I was looking for something. I looked in the top drawer of a lingerie chest. There were these fabric flowers. Fake flowers. Cheap flowers. Disposable ornaments. Pretty little pins to decorate a dress or two that I have forgotten or no longer own. I will dump the entire contents of most of those drawers into a trash bag. I will give the bag to Irma. Irma can dispose of anything without making me feel as if I’ve sent it to the dump. I reassured myself firmly that my life is not disposable. No, it isn’t, is it?