We went to the flea market today. I used to love flea markets. All of these objects, out of time, out of place. Every single thing was purchased by someone once, seen as imoportant enough to pay for and take home. Even if its home ended up being in the bottom of a drawer, not to be seen again until a momentous occasion: a move, a renovation, a new piece of furniture, or a death. I used to delight in this. Now, as I pick through chipped figurines and stained plastic kitchen appliances, I am only reminded of how many things I own that I don't need. But there is a culture here, the flea market is more than just buy and sell. People know each other, there is a comfortable hum of familiarity. They come to buy things just to sell at their own table. And so, there are some objects that will remain in the flea market circuit endlessly.
When I get home, my eye is more critical. I look at my possessions like a shopper, and see that the only reason I keep some things are for the things they remind me of. Each book that I have read once, and never will again, is held onto because I remember where I bought it and when I read it. It is not intrinsically valuable, but I cannot bear to part with it. It reminds me of who I am, and what it took to get here.
I wonder about people who lead those aesthetically clean, design driven lives. I suspect white walls and a vinyl couch would cause me to forget myself.