my apartment is small and has too much stuff in it. i don’t think i’m a packrat, it’s more that i’m a goldfish whose bowl size has changed a lot. i was living in a townhome, then an apartment, then a small house, then a bigger house, and now a very small apartment. so all this nonsense i’ve accumulated, nonsense i’m attached to, has just piled up in here. and maybe the attachment is the problem.
i’ve got this great piece of furniture that i use as an entertainment center. i found it by the side of the road. i used to use it as a sort of alter. put a bunch of candles and gemstones and my tarot cards on it. that was a different time for me. i’m still spiritual but there’s an activeness to it. i think the spirituality for me is born out of flexing the muscles in my soul. going on road trips. quitting a job i hate. putting myself in uncomfortable situations. forcing myself to reckon with unknown parts of me and how they interact with unknown parts of the world. so now that alter is an entertainment center. maybe that’s symbolic, but i don’t think so. i still read the tarot. i do love that.
i’ve also got this metal frame shelving unit. i found that in an alley near my apartment. it was rusting in the rain, but i love that too. it’s very industrial looking and beat up but when i moved to south broadway, i started to pick up this affinity for the grit of the city. i found this dirty beer sign by the trash and i just grabbed that too. in my bathroom there’s this sign for a concert that i just ripped off a pole in my neighborhood. it’s got packing tape surrounding it and it falls off all the time. you get sick of beauty, i think, or at least the normal idea of beauty. i love the shit out of van gogh but i wouldn’t want his prints on my walls. and it’s not the most innovative thing to find the gritty city stuff beautiful either. i’m familiar with heroin chic. i’m also familiar with the idea that a homeless person’s life shouldn’t be your artistic expression. these items don’t come to me in some sort of interior decorator mentality. they scream at me. take me. it’s rare but when they scream at me to be taken i take them.
most everything i own for furniture i found or was given to me. my bed and bed frame were gifts from my former landlord. he lived upstairs and i think he pitied me for the breakup i was going through when i left so he threw me that bed. and also he’s just a genuinely nice person. i’m glad he came into my life. he’s your traditional red-blooded conservative, but i also was around while he sat at his computer for hours researching the judges up for election. i’ve also seen nothing but kindness from him. i also saw him give up alcohol to get the woman he loves back. i’m pretty proud to be the recipient of a bed from him.
on my wall is some drywall that my friend sarah painted a painting on. one night, in the twilight of this round of our friendship, her and my friend ivan came over and big surprise we just drank a little whiskey, listened to laid back music and painted to our hearts’ desire. sarah and i painted, ivan i think read. ivan is a person of integrity like that. so sarah takes this torn up piece of drywall and paints this magical barren frozen tundra of a landscape on it. with these harsh red streaks that look almost digital. and in the foreground, the focus of the painting is this polar bear, and it’s got red on it too. it’s dripping with blood but i’m not so certain that’s the case. she just did this with a piece of drywall. and now she’s off in vancouver with ivan and she just started her first day at a job that she hates and she’s going to quit on day two. she asked me what she should do.
there’s this weird cycle where i used to give shitty impulsive emotional advice, and then i gave empathetic advice based on what i would do, and then i started asking people questions to help them figure out what they wanna do, and now i just don’t think i know anything at all.
i found a wheelchair the other day. i don’t need a wheelchair, but i couldn’t stand to see a wheelchair, an old school wheelchair covered in sharpie graffiti, by a dumpster. i couldn’t let it go. i don’t need a wheelchair but this thought lingered over my head that if i didn’t take it, it’d be gone. so now it’s in my living room. there’s three chairs in my entire house. the armchair i’m sitting in, the wooden chair at my desk and this wheelchair. it’s empty but it feels like it’s here with me in person. like we’re two old men sitting by the fire shooting the shit.
i don’t think i’m going to keep it, but i’m not going to throw it away. this isn’t a moral story of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. and some things are just trash. and these things i own i don’t know that i think of them as treasure. i think of them maybe as friends looking for my advice.
Lenny Chernila, from what i heard secondhand, would take objects from someone’s house and put them in someone else’s house. like this belongs here now. some would say that’s weird, or rude. but you don’t own these things, not really. and if they’ve come to you, it’s only fair to know that at some point they’ll leave you.
i don’t know how this wheelchair is going to leave me. i picture a scenario where maybe danger will happen, god forbid, and someone will be incapable of walking. maybe a stroke, maybe a broken leg. and i, walking by, will say, wait here, i have a wheelchair. i’ll run gallantly down to my apartment and grab the wheelchair. that’s too heroic though. this wheelchair doesn’t have a hero complex. but it’s not my chair either. and me, i’m just hear to give it advice, but the older i get, the more i see how unqualified i am in fact to give advice. maybe i should just listen to the wheelchair on this one.