Friday, April 14, 2006

Acquisition Mode

Turns out, after a lifetime of acquisition, these days, I just don’t care that much about Things. Well, that’s not exactly true, I use the microwave a ton, and when it breaks, I will get another. And my tools, oh man I love tools, don’t make me give them up. But most of the things I require, like tools, and a guitar, and my recording equipment, have something to do with art, the making of something, the process of art. So I guess I can’t tell you that I am one of The Zen Men, meditatin’ away all of my worldly possessions, but I think you get my drift.

Now, coffee table books, I can live without. I already have, oh, maybe 131, ranging from China to Espresso, and though they are very nice, I never look at them, so they just sit shelved in our crowded library, collecting dust. And all that serving stuff, bowl after bowl after platter after platter, “hmmmmm, maybe I should get on my hands and knees, down in the basement where those platters are, behind those 50 or so baking dishes, and pull out the platter that has a picture of a fish on it, since we are serving Salmon to our guests tonight, and, oh yes, while I am down there, I MUST get out that wine bottle basket, the brown one made from actual dried grape vines, it would look so perfect on our table this evening!”, see what I mean?

I think it must be an aging thing. When one is young, Things are the trappings and evidence of success. And it’s probably a good thing, since when you get older, and eventually live on your savings and Social Security, (knock on wood), you can’t afford to buy a bunch of stuff anyway.

Marie and I spent some time a few nights ago in a gift shop, where we attended a grand opening in support of the owner, a friend. As I browsed the store, I was amused at how difficult it was for me to find anything to buy. I mean, it was all cool stuff. But do I need or want a new lunchbox? A stove trivet? A wall clock? New artsy covers for my lightswitches? I finally decided on a few candles, we can always use them, but as for the other stuff, stuff that I will take home, and put on the dining table, where it will sit for a week or two, and then struggle to find a place to store it, only to uncover it in two years time and not even be able to remember where I got it, that’s just not for me.

Not long ago, a very special man whom Marie has worked with passed her office, and handed her off a book that he had been given as a gift. When he handed it to her, he said that he and his wife were “no longer in acquisition mode”, which as you can see, stuck to me like glue.

And another thing. There is a young guy who lives up the street, and as he approached me this afternoon, in his stocking cap and sweat pants, cigarette smoke swirlin’ round his anxious face, as I was walking the dogs, he went off an a diatribe about how his fancy car had been recently hit while parked, and since I walk the dogs so much, and even if it is a “shot in the dark”, did I see anything? I did not see anything, and I expressed sympathy, but when I saw the damage he was so uptight about, what I really wanted to say was, “fuggedaboudid, son, don’ sweat the small stuff.” So we say goodbye, and I watch him walk to his apartment, all stiff and worried and like he has a permanent broomstick up his ass. All set for an anxiety attack, for which he will require valium, or several martinis.

So I know I am full of shit, since I do care about certain of my possessions, but, as a 57 year old guy getting older every year, letting go comes a bit more naturally. If someone puts a dent in my car door, as it sits in some parking lot, or on Hawthorne Boulevard, my first thought is, “ahhhhh, I guess I can worry less about this boat being stolen now!”

But my real message here is for those of you who shower me with gifts, and if I may, I would like to provide for you a list of things I would love to receive in the future:

1. A sunset as seen from Manzanita, Oregon on a warm summer day, my wife by my side
2. About 6 grandkids piled on top of me laughing
3. A look of contentment and health in my children’s eyes
4. Absolutely no boxing Nuns or Rabbis from a store like "Presents of Mind"
5. A barbecue at my daughter’s house with my sons-in law barbecuing
6. Marie and I hanging around outside ourAirstream trailer in the morning with a cup of coffee in a park with huge pine trees
7. The Grand Canyon
8. A subscription to National Geographic Magazine
9. A trip to a Mariner’s game with my entire family
10. Massage
11. Dinner at Castagna twice a month with my pluperfect wife and a dry Grey Goose Martini
12. No more war

That last one is a doozy, I know, but try real hard to get it for me, will ya?

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Pacific Beach, Washington, United States