Friday, November 13, 2009

Sour Grapes and Toe Socks

So here’s the thing, I have this tendency to hold onto empty cardboard boxes. Not really hold onto them. That’s too passive a way of putting it. I hoard them. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what explains it. Was there some sort of Great Depression of boxes when I was kid and good cardboard was hard to come by? Do I have some gypsy gene that fires off occasionally to prepare me for packing up all my things on a moment’s notice? You know, in case there’s a sudden purge of my people, but they’re letting us take our photo albums with us. Around this time of year, the box thing gets even worse as I convince myself that I need to stockpile empty boxes in case I need to wrap presents for the holidays. I suppose the "holiday excuse" kind of justifies the hoarding, temporarily at least, but nothing justifies the keeping of empty boxes in February or April or July. It’s not like I’m this super thoughtful person who sends care packages to the troops or anything. It’s all about me. I want these boxes just in case I might want them later.

I’m sure there are others out there who do this box-collecting thing, and if I could find say, ten or fifteen of us, we’d constitute a demographic group. This doesn’t mean box-collecting is not weird, of course. I’ll bet you could get a bunch of serial killers together and they’d have a lot in common too. (“OMG, I totally like torturing small animals and setting fires too! How funny is that?”) Demographics doesn’t spare you the label of weirdness, in fact it just sort of codifies it, and once it’s codified, we’re able to console ourselves with knowledge that since there are others with the same quirk, it’s all O.K. I mean, don’t you think your grandmother thought it was perfectly reasonable to send you loads of random newspaper clippings from her local paper and put tissues up her sleeve and reuse her tea bags? Don’t you think that she had several friends – even dozens of them -- who did exactly the same things? It was still a behavior that left you scratching your head.

What’s stranger still to think about is that right now, I am a part of several demographic groups, and one of the things we all have in common is a deeply held misconception of one sort or another. And years from now, that misconception is going to be revealed for what it is, and we’re all going to look back and wonder what the hell we were thinking. That’s right. Even now, we are all suffering from a mass delusion, and we don’t even know it.

Now don't go thinking you're the exception here because you’re not. I saw your high school yearbook photo and your hair did not look like that naturally. You tried to get to do that … that swoopy thing in the front and the feathering on the side. You went off to junior high school every morning happy that you had two sausage-shaped curls on the sides of your face. Two words, people: toe socks. Two more words: rubber bracelets. And still one more word: Windsong. Come on, you remember; it stays on your mind.

If I have to take a guess as to what this mass delusion is going to turn out to be – well, at least one of them anyway, I’m sure there are loads of them – I’d say this… now get ready because you’re going to be in for a's granite countertops. Yes, I know. You feel like you've just been kicked in the ribs, and you are now pointing at the screen and shouting "NO! You are WRONG! I won't accept it!" I realize it’s hard to believe, but I’m telling you, in another thirty years people are going to be ripping granite countertops out of their kitchens like they’re asbestos, wondering what the hell we were all thinking. All those granite countertops we all love and adore, they’re all going straight to the landfill where they can’t be broken down any further since they’re already, you know, rock. And in about twenty thousand years, thin slivers of granite with bullnose edges are going to be one of the mysteries of the ages.

I know you might still be reeling at the mere thought of all this but frankly, granite countertops littering the landfills of the future oddly cheers me up. You know why? Because when that happens, when granite countertops become as reviled as avocado linoleum flooring, the fact that I could never afford granite countertops is going to make me look pretty darn prescient. Of course, I probably won’t get credit for my forward-thinking because who pays attention to an old woman with a house full of empty cardboard boxes? But here it is, blogged into the record in 2009. I'm already planning my "I told you so" world bus tour in 2039. You're welcome to join me.

And for the record, I never owned toe socks, but it was not because I didn't want them. I wanted them desperately, but I couldn't wear them because of my handicap, which I don't normally like to talk about but with you, I will. I have webbed toes, you see, and for me, toe socks were but a distant dream that could never be.

You too? Seriously? No way! OK, that makes me feel a whole lot better.