Friday, February 05, 2010

Finding Old Stuff You Love > Buying New Stuff

With all of this being jobless and sort of trying to get myself to be productive but mostly failing at it, all the while watching my bank account dwindle to approximately $0.03, I have pretty much put a moratorium on the purchasing of goods. (Aside from the DS, that is, which I got with my Christmas/babysitting money and which, along with providing a great deal of entertainment, has also made it even more difficult to lift myself into the realm of productivity.)

I kind of miss the thrill of purchasing. You know, that little rush you get after you go into a store stuffed full of things that you might need but mostly want and you find that one thing that you've never seen before but you're absolutely convinced you'd love and you pick it up and carry it to the cashier and hand over your cash or card and get the item in exchange. Then you feel that little thrill of ownership, that sense that, no matter what the world takes from you, it can't take away this...ceramic unicorn, or Star Wars coloring book, or digital camera case. Because it's yours. Forever. Or at least until you break/lose it while moving to Minnesota.

But I digress.

It feels pretty great. For about an afternoon. And it usually feels better when the purchase is relatively small and you don't have the sense that you've just spent about 100 hours of your working life on something you kind of didn't want anyway.

Sadly, I have had to live without that new-ownership feeling for what seems like a long time. Unless, of course, you count the purchase of prescription medication, a cup of hot chocolate (paid for entirely with coins) at a local Barnes & Noble, or that secret stash of peanut butter M&Ms I bought on the sly.

But I've discovered something better, something that makes my acquisitional nature flutter with happiness. I've found that rediscovering old treasures is even better than getting new ones.

Because I've had most of my things packed away in boxes for almost eight months, many of my possessions are currently tucked away inside cardboard, all but inaccessible in their stacks in the corners of my parents' basement (inaccessible unless you have scissors, of course, and a sense of adventure and determination and a strong defiance against the fear of dust). The other day, though, I found that I needed some article that was still unpacked, and I hadn't made note of which box contained it. So, I found myself crouched in a storage room, lit by a single naked bulb, hovering over boxes with my tiny craft scissors shimmering in the half-light. Oh, it was an epic experience.

I sliced into the boxes and dragged forth their contents into the light, and as I did so, I began to recognize things. There was that geode with the pewter dragon glued inside! And my jewelry box, full of tacky, sentimental things that I hardly dared wear but loved to look at. And the bookends with ships on them, and the Chinese dragon I bought in New York, and the tapestry pillows and my gloves and the stuffed bean-frog with the little crown on its head. And. Well, in fact pretty much all of it was tacky. But I loved it.

And I got that fluttery, just-having-bought-something-great feeling. That sense of fond ownership, of familiarity, of things that reminded me not only of people I loved, but of myself as I was a year ago, or a decade.

And you know what? I wouldn't trade it. Not even for a nice, new bag of peanut butter M&Ms.


Larkin Legacy said...

Sweet post, Beth. Love your expressions. Thanks for the nice comments on my latest quilt.

Debbie (Nerd Goddess) said...


(Also, thanks for following my blog!)

Arkansas Bartholomews said...

I love that feeling too. I rarely get a high off of new things (as I have been trained to feel angst of having given into purchasing something) but I get it off of fond old things in spades.

It makes it very hard to throw things away. I get it when contemplating worn out pants and shirts. Old cards. Steel test samples that exhibited necking before brittle failure. It's sad. There is a reason I still drive a 1980 Datsun with a custom paint job in industrial green. Though, the reason may include the fact that I don't have to get to Minnesota right now...

I also hope your epic search lead you to whatever item it was you actually set out to find. =)

I wish you were my librarian. There would be a better selection of the books I liked if you were. Of course, the rest of the people (baring my husband) in the county might get grouchy. If there was anyway our titchy library could deal with your awesomeness I'd be sorely tempted to sneak you across state boundaries.

I'm sounding silly. Goodnight =)


LizzyLu said...

Sigh. Now I want peanut butter M&M's. They're the best.

azrobisons said...

Oh, I do love Peanut butter M&M's. Ever since they came out. I need to have the thrill of finding old things I'd forgotten I had too. Meaning I have many boxes from our move that I need to go through and/or haven't gone through in a very long time! I say Hooray to you as well for forging through those boxes and also hope that you did actually find the item you went searching for in the first place.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

Funny how we flutter over buying new things.