Is it my age making me sentimental? I think I've always been sentimental; while reading a book on decluttering, I came across a "two kinds of people" line that stated that people keep stuff because it has sentimental value or because they might need it someday. I'm in the former camp, while most of my family is in the latter. I think it has something to do with keeping the stuff you can't replace versus not wanting to have to shell out to replace something replaceable that you threw out.
(I shouldn't be trying out theories in this post; it's after 4 am and I'm not really in logical mode.)
Anyway, I was a keeper of letters and notes and school notebooks and Girl Guide badges, lots of it now close to (gasp) thirty years old, and stored in rubbermaid bins in the basement that haven't been opened since we moved here over seven years ago.
But before the merging of the household effects for cohabitation, there was the merging of the ideas, back in the courtship days, the days of mix tapes and trips to the bookstores, the days of "have you read this?" and "what's the name of this band again?" The first months when we found out what we had in common: the night we met, when I was setting up my classroom, DaddySutra heard Tori Amos wafting out of my classroom. "Would you have had anything to do with me if I'd been playing Spice Girls?" (I did not and do not own Spice Girls of any sort.) "Probably not," he replied. Half an hour later, when I traced him down to better make his acquaintance, I noticed that he had a Natalie Goldberg book with him, stuck in a stack. "Natalie Goldberg! She's fantastic! I just did a writing workshop with her this summer! It was amazing!" (I later found that he wasn't such a huge fan of NG, but I guess she ranked higher than the Spice Girls.)
But the loss of the symbols of courtship makes me feel old...does it for everyone? When DaddySutra told me that the lead singer of Morphine had died, only a couple years after we'd started dating, it made me grieve for those early days in our relationship. Of course, I could easily forget all the fights we had because we didn't really know or understand each other, but all the giddiness, that I felt a longing for.
David Foster Wallace was another of those courtship things, an author of books that seemed so completely out there to me, then of the Oprah books and whatever showed up at Costco. I took The Girl with Curious Hair as my travel reading when I went to Spain and Portugal. True, a lot of the pain I felt when I heard he died had to do with the stories that emerged about his depression, a far more vicious species of the condition than I was dealing with at the time.
And today a tow truck came to our house and took away the little Toyota that DaddySutra drove when I met him. Six years ago almost to the day, after we'd taken the insurance off the little car, a tornado touched down two blocks from our house and sent a piece of plywood flying. It struck the roof of our house, not causing too much damage but scaring the hell out of me and nearly sending me into labour (I was three weeks away from delivering our big girl, Em). From the roof, it landed onto the windshield of the little car, destroying the glass and rendering the little car unusable, and a huge nuisance to fix.
The little car sat and sat in the driveway. We tried to sell it, but no one could test drive it, couldn't drive it away to get it fixed. My dad would tell us "that's a good little car, you just need to fix it up and you could drive it for another twenty years." At first, that seemed reasonable: it was enough car to get DaddySutra to work and back. But it's not so easy to find a windshield for a little old Toyota. So we waited, and the car started to dissolve into our driveway, rusting away, the tarp covering the windshield having to be replaced because it had worn away.
A windshield was found...two years ago. It's still sitting in my parents' spare room. But once it's been six years of a car taking up space in your driveway --- even if the car is your security system, because, seriously, why would anyone with a piece of junk in their driveway like that have anything of value in their house? --- a car that was now "celebrating" its twentieth birthday, even calm people like the Sutras can be pushed to their limit. And so the nice man with his own personal tow truck came over this afternoon and it was goodbye little red car.
I felt like I should be taking pictures or something. That little car was the car he drove when we met, the car I had to push out of his crappy parking spot at work after massive snowfall, me in my ever practical velour dress and black tights (oh, the 90s). He tried to get me to drive a standard in that little car. The car where we sat when I first told him I wanted to kiss him.
But it's just a car, right? I told myself that when my mom cried after her first new car was totalled in an accident that could have been much more serious than it was. (Details: my mom didn't drive until after I was born, unless you count farm machinery; she had a few little used cars, but this was her first new car; we were tail ended on the highway between town where she worked and my sister and I went to school and the bedroom community where we lived, but because the blow was not quite direct we came out of it okay, but the car was totalled..) It's just a car, and now we can park our mostly driveable second vehicle on the driveway and plug it in with a cord less than 100 feet long, rather than parking in the street as we have been for the past six years (Full disclosure: our current second car is the car I drove when DaddySutra and I started dating, and a few months ago I backed into it with our current main vehicle...hence the "mostly driveable" part.).
And perhaps it's my totally disfunctional sleep patterns that are making me incredibly maudlin and somewhat crazy.