Moving is never fun; especially when you tend to “collect” things. I wouldn´t classify myself as a packrat, but I do have a tendency to amass many items: shoes, clothes, purses, books…oh, and fragrances. Not to mention dishes, glasses, mugs, rubber duckies… I have a collection of rubber duckies living on the counter in my bathroom. OK, maybe I am packrat.
For the next few weeks, I will be gathering my things and moving from the house I´ve lived in for 11 years. I´ve experienced a bit of upheaval in my life over the past year, and, what I was hoping would not happen, is happening. In a crappy real estate market, and during what I consider to be the worst economic climate of my adult life, I am essentially leaping before looking and embarking on a fresh start. Did I mention that I will be making this fresh start in Canada, not far from my wacky but eminently lovable family? Not only am I moving to new digs – I´m moving to a different country. Why couldn´t it be England or Italy? Maybe one day. For now, it is important for me to have family close by, in addition to a brand-spankin´ new Shoppers Drug Mart, a famous gourmet supermarket, and an apartment where I will never have to worry about snow removal or finding a parking spot. Sounds perfect, doesn´t it? Then why am I scared out of my freakin´ mind?
Part of my fear stems from having to part with material possessions that for years, I never gave a second thought to. I am never one to walk out of a bookstore empty-handed, and when I schlepped six large boxes and three shopping bags full of books into the local Goodwill earlier this week, I was greeted with some strange looks. I wasn´t quite sure if those looks were ones of utter shock from the sheer numbers; or because no one could possibly read that much without physically injuring themselves. I almost felt the need to exclaim, “Yes, I´ve read every one of these books!” I´ve still got one completely stuffed bookcase to contend with; those are books I haven´t yet read. And I can say with utter certainty that I will never own one of those Amazon Kindle things. For a booklover, downloading books is tantamount to treason; I don´t care how much space it saves.
I´ve almost reached that Zen point where I´m considering selling my CDs, and contenting myself with the over 3,000 songs on my iPod, but I don´t know if I can. I grew up with record albums, and the physical presence of music still means something to me. I have memories of lying on the floor of my bedroom, and my friends´ bedrooms, poring over album covers and liner notes; an activity as obsolete as having to get up to change channels on the television or dialing a rotary phone. Downloading music on the computer still feels unnatural because I have those memories; I can´t help but think the younger generations have missed out on an integral part of life. Stuffing tiny headphones into your ears while holding an electronic device in the palm of your hand that contains more music than could be packed into an average size house is indeed a technological miracle, but it cannot replace the physical act of holding a record album and feeling the throb of stereo speakers vibrate throughout your body. Man, I miss that.
I´m not going to cover every category of possession, but I´ve saved the most difficult for last: my fragrance collection. I´ll confess to accumulating way more bottles over the years than I´m willing to admit; not on the scale of someone like Donatella Versace (wasn´t it her collection photographed in Allure or Vogue that showed hundreds of bottles displayed in her palatial bathroom?), or someone else who might have the square footage to accommodate an obnoxiously large collection. For me, fragrance exists on the periphery of life; particularly because I´ve always stored my bottles in drawers and closets to keep them as fresh and pristine as possible. It wasn´t until I pulled them all out and attempted to gather them in one spot that I realized, “Damn, I didn´t think I had that many!” Yeah, I have that many.
So, what´s to become of me and all my fragrances? I don´t know. Right now, I´ve divided my collection into two categories: keeping and chucking. Sadly, I´m not one who has the patience to list my unwanted wares on ebay; keep track of auctions, deal with potentially dishonest buyers, and haul my cookies to the post office everyday. All that is not something I have time for right now. I´m procrastinating at levels I never reached, even as a student; I keep reminding myself that life isn´t just about possessions. But, every time I look at those bottles, I think: these are an expression of who I am. Why do I have to get rid of them? Then, I spy scents that I haven´t worn in years and realize there is no point in taking them with me. If I haven´t worn them in a very long time, why keep them? Sentimentality is weighing heavily one me, and I´ve been thinking a lot about my mom and my grandmother and the stacks of Irish linens sitting up in my attic – the one room I have yet to conquer.
Here is my plan as it stands: Into the car go the contents of my Serge drawer, the scents I have in heavy rotation, and the plastic totes I´ve designated as the vessels the remainder of my collection will travel in. There´s no way I will allow my bottles to bounce around in a rented moving truck. I´ve yet to decide what will hold pride of place in the passenger seat: my dear, sweet, loving cat Lily, who will be tranquilized for the trip, and no doubt traumatized when we get there, or my Serge collection; tough decision. Much as I love Serge, I´m sure my bottles will be fine on the back seat.
This will be my last essay here at the Posse, probably until the end of October or the beginning of November. I look forward to sharing with all of you the experiences of my move and what storage I have devised for what will eventually be a significantly smaller collection of scents. Thanks again to March and Patty for graciously allowing me to post. Hope you´re all having a grand time at Chi-cocoa Scentsation this weekend. See you soon!