Stuff and dust

That was a hard day. Helping out a friend.

Mid pandemic, just when things were feeling really awkward, my friend’s father died quite suddenly in the room I slept in last night. Since then I know she’s tried but it’s not been easy for her to look in there and make some change. It doesn’t help that the dad was a hoarder, and without an eye on cleanliness. His room has been unthought of since he died. All his hoarded things, all left there with the cat enjoying the peace and quiet. She needs that room to pay those bills which have suddenly jumped so much. I know from experience how things like that are virtually impossible to sort without two willing participants.

Wardrobes full of disintegrated ancient vintage woollen suits so completely decimated by moths that they didn’t even really have use for theatre, but with a Mont Blanc pen in one of the pockets. Drawers still fluffed with the dry carcasses of thousands of exterminated bedbugs, but with potentially interesting cigarette cards stuck with the organic detritus. Junk, junk and junk. Once again the ephemera of this varied life, neglected into dust and carelessness at the end. I’ve seen photos today, read cards. I found his racy mags and his wardrobe liquor stash. I liked him alive – he was a racing driver back in the day, beating out early Lotus cars. The same rough era as my dad – maybe twenty years younger – but Scottish too. Much of the ephemera is connected to that obsession and is so familiar to me with my dad’s effects. Racing trophies. Pictures of old cars. Articles about him and old cars that weren’t old back then. Flashy shiny memories of a life that suddenly stopped not so long ago.

We made some change in there but there’s so much to do. I’ll have to be back next week. I hit a wall and went home. All the organic matter stuck to me. All the dust I’ve inhaled. Even the cat got weirded out.

Tomorrow I’m back to the flat of another friend’s dead mother to look for a crucial document I still can’t find. ’tis the season. First all my friends got married. Then kids. Now dying parents. Next up there’s second marriage. Then I guess we all start to kark it.

I’m gonna get the hell out of all this trapped energy I’ve been moving now though. There’s more to move but we made a solid start. It’s a lesson about what I might be able to achieve in my own flat with application. We put about 20 bags in the rubbish and took six to the charity shop. We took a horrible sofa out, despite having to fight the cat.

Shortly I’ll be off to Brighton to see Lou and just be for a while.

It occurs to me that we all have to try to make it easier for whichever poor fool will have to go through our stuff when we drop. I’m feeling closer to the old chap than we ever were when he was alive. I had to ditch some pretty personal things. We went through everything to be sure we weren’t throwing away precious things… More to do. We accumulate so much. Maybe there’s something in the fascism of kondo. I do love being surrounded by ridiculous random stuff. But I don’t need all the tissues and old newspapers… I guess with stuff we have to choose our battles always.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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