Sunday, November 28, 2004

How to Live Out of a Suitcase and Not Cock Up your Parents' House

I should say that I don't know how to do what the title suggests. I just thought if I tried to write a post about this subject, I might figure something out in the process. As my dad (who is from Long Island) would say, I inevitably "cock up" every room in the house.

I've lived out of backpacks, and more recently suitcases at various points in my peripatetic life, and have needed to use my parents' house in Palm Harbor, Florida as a refuelling point/base over the years. My stuff, or George Carlin's use of the word "shit," from my parents' perspective, is complicated. I am not able to follow Thoreau's instruction to "live simply and wisely." I find that living wisely for me necessitates living complicatedly. (I don't think that's a proper adverb, but whatever.)

The world is big, my interests are many, my suitcase doth overfloweth. But I would advise the following if I were to advise on this subject:

1. Ask your parents/ host (oh-- just realized "host" is also the word for "a living animal or plant affording subsistence or lodgment to a parasite." oh dear.) where they would like you to to put your stuff, or shit.

2. If you have a great many books amongst your stuff or shit, or if you rapidly accumulate them through libraries or prodigal on-line buying sprees, relegate a specific place for them, and stick to it. If you have the book variant of attention-deficit-disorder, replace each book to that specific place before you pick up the next one, even if, say, the Sartre book you're reading, makes you want to refer for some weird reason to your tome on Art Deco.

3. Keep your toiletries out of sight. Your teenaged brother doesn't want to look at your cucumber facial cleansing cloths, your moisturizer, your perfume, and certainly not your tampons. Have some sensitivity for goddsakes. There's sure to be some space where you can stow these items away in the bathroom once you've finished with them. If not, carry them from your suitcase to the bathroom each time you need them. It's a bit of a schlep, but it's the right thing to do. Special allowances may be made for your toothbrush and toothpaste, which are gender-neutral and are used frequently.

4. But all of the above can be handled by simply (or rather, complicatedly) being mindful. I know better than anyone how easy it is to kick off your Puma sneakers, drape your pashmina over the sofa, and leave your book on Martha Graham lying open on the coffee table. But we must be respectful of other people's space, because we are not animals. If we were animals, we might, like one fluffy ghetto dog who recently paid us a visit, assert ourselves every few meters or so along the baseboard, on the carpet, and on the sofas. But we as humans must resist this canine inclination to mark. If you must mark, do it on your blog, where with a simple click of the mouse, others need not countenance your stuff, or shit, as the case may be.

One word more to my parents, to my family, my hosts: I am trying, I really am. Though I may be protozoan at times, I know how lucky I am to be here with you. I will try not to communicate any diseases, but rather to coexist with you symbiotically.

Thank you.

12 Comments:

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

Books: My solution has been to place my books in bookshelves and find them randomly when I want to read something. Whenever the order gets shuffled around through some catastrophic means (e.g. moving), I come across books I hadn't seen in ages.

Postscript to 2) If you have too many books and wish to improve the quality to quantity ratio, sort through and select the books you will never read. Sell them or give them away to someone who will appreciate them. It's theory. I haven't tried it yet.

P.S. I saw your photo in your profile today for the first time and have mixed feelings. 1) I know that a beautiful woman is writing this blog. 2) I can no longer wonder what you look like. That's why I loved that sketch you had in your profile before. It was perfect. It was so much fun trying to imagine the face behind it. I loved the mystery.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

oh dear, Indeterminacy.
Maybe I shouldn't have put the photo up. It certainly wasn't a look-at-me sort of thing. It's the goofy photo from my Budapest transport pass, and as I am a bit goofy and as my bloggy is at least peripherally about Budapest, I thought it might serve a purpose for a little while.

Beautiful woman. Hmm. That's very nice of course. And it's nicer when someone clever says you're beautiful. But I feel funny about that. I think that I can be beautiful sometimes, but I guess I don't think that a photo is really the medium in which I best show off my wares, if you will.

I'm sorry if I've punctured some mystery for you. Mystery is so captivating. It's a pity to ruin it.

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

That's absolutely right. A single photograph can be limiting. It becomes the standard image in one's mind. Maybe one day blogger will allow random rotation of an entire gallery of photos. On the other hand, a drawing can be interpreted anew each time it is viewed. Would my site be better without my photo? Maybe I should take it down? I originally wanted to put up a sketch of myself. But I don't have one :-(

 
At 1:20 AM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

oh, I agree! The photographic image is very powerful-- it stamps itself into our retinas and then into our imaginations. Like how when you read a book, and then see the movie, the images that you've crafted are erased and replaced by the persuasiveness of the celluloid image. For example, I like very much the Cate Blanchett "Lucinda," and the Ralph Fiennes "Oscar," but I still prefer the protean and personal nature of the images in my imagination when I first read the book. (by Peter Carey).

I think the photo on your bloggy manages a mysterious aspect. I'm not claiming to be a great artist, and I only know you through your cyber-voice, but if you ever wanted to e-mail me some pics of you, I will do a sketch for you when I get back to Pest. (my client has bought me a ticket and I will be back there by mid-December). But of course the best is if someone can sketch you in person, in natural light, etc.

 
At 4:28 AM, Blogger andrew s.yang said...

haha! this post is so funny, and so right on. When traveling our Stuff is like our guts, we need to carry them around, but god forbid anyone sees them, or smells them, or anything of the sort. I like the way the animal seems to pop in and out again as a theme in this post, from dogs to hosts. It’s brilliant.

And on the subject of books, relating to your and Indetermincacy’s points, I just read a great quote last night that seems apropos, from Calvino’s “The Baron in the Trees.” The baron lives is whole life in the branches, never touching ground, and often having to move his camp about and fight the contingencies of such an arboreal life. Not unlike life as a suitcase traveler. Anyway, Calvino gives us the following beautiful description of the baron, Cosimo’s, solution to his library situation. The sentiment seemed somehow Audra-esque:

“To keep his books, Cosimo constructed a kind of hanging bookcase, sheltered as best as he could from the rain and nibbling mouths. But he would continuously change them around, according to his studies and tastes at the moment, for he considered books as rather like birds and it saddened him to see them caged or still.”

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

It was a self-portrait? Wow! I'm impressed. I certainly will send you some photos! Not that I have many. I'm usually the one holding the camera. Maybe we can arrange a webcam sitting.

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

oh -a-n-d-y-! I've never been an adjective before! What an honor you bestow on me! I've never read that book by Calvino-- but there's room for one more in the stacks. Yes, evocative metaphor for those living out of a suitcase; I do feel like that, as if I'm trying to keep everything in the air, or in the trees, as Calvino would have it. And nice idea about imparting life to books.

arrgh, Indeterminacy, don't be impressed. Not with a dilettante. Be impressed with the careful dedicated lookers of the world, the Van Goghs and the Cezannes and the Morandis. But if you do want this blithe squanderer to draw you, she will do so happily.

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger jon said...

I am looking everywhere for golf shoes and golf shoes, while doing so I somehow stumbled onto your golf shoes blog. I am happy to say I learned something and will look into this further...

Thanks for the great posts...

jon

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger jon said...

I am looking everywhere for icon shoes and icon shoes, while doing so I somehow stumbled onto your icon shoes blog. I am happy to say I learned something and will look into this further...

Thanks for the great posts...

jon

 
At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a **Dog Coats** site/. It pretty much covers the sale of custom made dog coats.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 4:22 AM, Blogger Linux Unix said...

Cute blog! Please visit my dog costume blog.

 
At 5:48 AM, Blogger Blog World said...

i was just browsing through the blog world searching for the keyword posters and it brought me to your site. You have a great site however it is not exactly what i was looking for. Good luck on your site.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home