Estate

I woke up this morning, my hamstrings were little plucking cramps.  It took Brene Brown talking about shame to get me out of bed. And then I ran into like three flies.

I think the flies I vacuumed up last night successfully unionized and escaped the vacuum, though I had, in my genius, put the vacuum in a plastic bag and tied it.  (It’s a wee vacuum, I could see them flying around in there, and I was tired and didn’t feel like taking it out to empty it.)

So I dove around my apartment wielding the vacuum.  Anyone filming it would have been distressed.  Sort of like that video of George Michael from “Arrested Development” wielding a “light saber.”

I took the stupid vacuum of flies downstairs, around, to the dumpster, where I wasn’t even killing them, I was setting them free in their ideal habitat.

Back upstairs, I felt very sad.  Sad that all of us continue to worry about what is safe, what we ought to do.  I obsess about this under normal conditions.  So, like many parts of pandemic life, I feel at home, if depressed, in this spot.

Whoa!  The trash truck is here to take my old friends to the landfill!  What a day for them!

Actually they are some weird kind of fly that prefers sunlit windows to food or water.  Which makes them a lot easier to kill.

I like sunlit windows, too.

“There’s Not Room for the Both of Us Here”

  1. ants
  2. roaches
  3. flies
  4. very large spiders I can’t handle
  5. mice
  6. of course rats, though I’ve never lived through that!

I guess also, fleas.  A million years ago, I had fleas.  They were living in the basement laundry room of my apartment building, and I couldn’t figure out why I was itchy.

I just stopped using the laundry room.

I missed my opportunity for a flea circus.

My next door neighbor, for a time, was a guy with such significant personal care challenges that his social worker eventually had him moved out of there and into… I’m sure, a penthouse apartment on Park Avenue.  Or some such.

A couple of weeks ago, after submitting to a covid test, I drove past a sign for an estate sale.  When I was younger, I thought estate sales were sad and ghoulish.  Now I understand that, best case scenario, my life may end up an estate sale, and I just want to make it the greatest estate sale in the history of the world.  I want people to be like, what the holy hell is this?

That house had imposing columns out front.  We entered the servants’ door, though, where someone had installed a lion face door knocker.  I’ve  moved into the “acquisitive” phase of life, so I remind myself I must have a similar door knocker.

The place is a blend of formerly glorious things still shining out, and hasty, unappealing repairs, and solutions for problems that can no longer be imagined, and places that were worn, that showed you people had lived there.

Built-in cabinets, loads of them.  Leaded glass and stained glass.  Small, proud rooms.  The house was built around the turn of the last century.

I wandered the whole place at least three times.  I had my mask on, and I looked for others’ masks, and I wondered if my curiosity about this house and my greed for possessions would get me the virus.  Well.

What did the people have: African masks, photos of white people in black gowns and black suits, beautiful paintings and horrible paintings (IMHO), a holy water font, files of newspaper clippings, an 1894 periodical, a large extended family of wooden frames, books on Chinese china, a tiny apron, a mug that said “Disney World” and “TEACHER” on the handle.

I bought a parasol, a picture of Angor Wat, a picture with a tacky tourist stamp from Hong Kong, a painting of the beach, a painting of a park in a city, with a pond, a 1957 painting of Java, and an orange oil paper umbrella.  (I would have said, parasol, but check this out.)

This was an impressive estate sale.  This was an estate sale of somebody who had been places, done stuff, bought art they liked.

What’s more, the people had kids, so the kids had already (I expect) taken some of the coolest stuff.  This was what was left!

When I got home, I got started rearranging all my pictures to welcome the newbies.

Am I coping by controlling something I can control, the decoration of my home and the (admittedly minor) buying power I have, as a person who received a government stimulus check?

Yes.

I am thinking more fondly of my coping strategies now. Yes to yoga and meditation, and also yes to retail therapy.

We need every last bobbing buoy and life jacket and table top (Rose!) to get through this.

My stepmom bought my cat a toy.  It is a series of progressively smaller circles that hold ping pong balls forever trapped for cat hunting.

He plays with it at least three times a day.

Sometimes you need stuff.

Recently I read a piece about how grown-ups sometimes sleep with stuffed animals.

Please do this.  Please.  This never hurt no one.

May my flies find lovies at the dump.

Image: Cuneiform tablet sale of real estate, ca. 7th century BCE, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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