I decided to make a start on tidying things in readiness for the move to a new family house. It’s only scheduled to take place after I’ve returned to England, but I thought I’d do what I could now to reduce the amount of my junk my family will have to pack up.
I started with the lowest compartment of the cupboard – relics from childhood – and had to conclude after going through it all that I am a packrat of the highest order; the combined effect of the dual considerations of sentimental value and but-it-might-come-in-handy-some-day is that the eraser collection (I’m not kidding) can’t be thrown away despite the fact that I would have to write out the Encyclopedia Britannica in pencil and then rub it all out again in order to actually use all of it, the Sea Monkey pamphlet can’t be thrown away even though those little ripoffs are long dead, and Strawberry Shortcake (unfortunately naked) also has to stay, because you don’t throw away Strawberry Shortcake.
But some things had to go, and so I made painful choices.
Thrown: Generic toy cars
Kept: A MicroMachines tune-up station cleverly disguised as a can of motor-oil. A small, rather pathetic Transformer-wannabe truck that in its robot form strangely resembled Duke Nukem. Five metal replicas of commercial airlines. My neighbour Roy and I used to combine our collections of planes and have plane beauty contests. We’d trundle the planes down the length of the “runway”, they’d do a turn at the end and get trundled back, and we’d score them out of ten. My Korean Air plane won many times because it was this lovely sky-blue.
Thrown: Balls of knitting yarn
Kept: Squares of knitting which I knitted every time I learnt a new stitch; a practice scarf rendered unusable by an inexplicable foray into stocking stitch three-quarters of the way through it. An unfinished square was still mounted on the knitting needles. I tried to continue it. I could remember how to knit, but not how to purl.
Thrown: Whoopie cushion, with deep regret – its rubber had melted and stuck to the box and it was a pale shadow of the fart maelstrom it once was. I loved that whoopie cushion. Sigh.
Kept: Fake bloodied bandage with nail, calculator that squirts water when you press the keys, sweet tin with leaping snakes when opened, rubber centipede, two snakes (one rubber, one plastic), replica revolver which shoots a flag saying “BANG!!!” when you press the trigger.