My daughter is an angel, with the black soul of a Capital C Capitalist.
She is sweet and scattered and lovely. Until money enters the picture. At which point, she acquires a drive and ferocity that leaves me…..unsettled.
One of my favorite “30 Rock” quotes encapsulates it eloquently:
(Change the him to her, and that about sums it up.)
Baby Girl wants to have a garage sale. She has been ruthlessly going through her possessions, culling them, giving no regard to sentimentality, every single item in her room representing potential profit. (And when you’re seven and cute, it’s ALL profit, because you didn’t pay for any of that shit.)
We do happen to have an overabundance of crap, these days. So I’m on board with the scheme.
I’m actually kind of pumped to try to sell some stuff. The electric lawnmower whose cord frustrated me one too many times. The glittery hooker heels I wore twice (for a total of 40 minutes). The microwave I got from my grandparents for high school graduation.
My thoughts drifted over to the bookshelf. And unleashed a shitstorm of conflict.
I looked at the shelves. Do I really need these things anymore? It seemed ridiculous, to get rid of this collection I’d spent years amassing. And at the same time, I got downright giddy from the potential freedom.
I called my sister, to get a second opinion.
“No! Like, ALL of your books?”
“Yeah, maybe, I don’t know.”
“But…hey, wait, don’t sell my Christopher Moore book. You still have it.”
“Which one? No I don’t.”
“‘A Dirty Job’. Your ex-boyfriend borrowed it.”
“I gave that back. I know I did. Oh, shit, there it is. OK, I promise I won’t sell that.”
“Ok. Then hey, do whatever you want.”
I was clearly on my own here.
The points and counter-points started to line up immediately.
Point: What if I want to read these again?
Counter Point: I won’t. I never have less than a half-dozen new books in the hopper, waiting to be read. The likelihood is extremely damn low that I’m going to go back and re-read them. The only book I have ever re-read more than twice (5 times, to be exact), was “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. And I’ve NEVER OWNED IT. It’s been from the library every time.
Point: I love them. I started asking for books as gifts (as opposed to toys) from an extremely early age. I love the way they smell, feel, look. One of my favorite, shame-soaked geeky pleasures is to denude my bookshelves, then organize them alphabetically, chronologically, by color, by size, and then some unholy, algorithmic combination of those factors that only I can make sense of. They make me feel rich in an obscured way that money never could.
Counter Point: I hate lifting them. I am going to want to move. Fairly soon. Books are fucking heavy. I do not care to move those hefty bastards again.
(image from here)
Point: I love, intensely, the memories surrounding the ones that were gifts. Books that came from friends who thought they’d found the perfect gift for me. Presents from my sister who has always had such similar (therefore, excellent) taste in fiction. Books I got from an ex-husband, that were bright spots in a not so bright time.
Counter Point: There are some not so awesome memories attached to a lot of them. The books that were with me when I was at my worst, my most depressed, my lowest. And sometimes looking at them, just seeing a title, can take me back in an instant. Why put myself through that, unnecessarily?
Point: I cared about what was on my bookshelf. Books were a great conversation starter when someone came over. And a great way of testing the waters, seeing if a person was “My Kind of Person”.
Counter Point: The last time I moved, my bookcase got relegated to a corner of the bedroom. No coolness points can be doled out when no one else can see them. And dragging someone into the boudoir to look at my books would be a wee bit….contrived? Desperate? Suspicious? Counter-productive?
So yeah, I don’t know what to do. Thoughts?