To be printed 02/09/10.
Things I have learned from moving
1. I don't need any more stuff.
The trouble is, I love stuff. I thrive on things. It's hard to explain, admittedly, why I so badly need to live with a bakelite telephone that doesn't work, a food processor I don't use, some vintage prescription glasses I don't wear or a tailor's dummy that I routinely mistake for a real person in the middle of the night and wake up screaming, but I do. I just do. Sometimes I worry that I measure my life in terms of the sheer volumes of tat I've managed to accumulate. It might be a subconscious desire to perpetuate my memory, so that after I die, there will be vast roomfuls of stuff for my loved ones to sort through for days and days. They can play music, serve snacks; it would be like a big amazing jumble sale where everything's donated by me.
At least, that was how I felt last week. This week, after the heart-, gut- and muscle-wrenching adventure that most call moving house, but I will forever think of as 'Operation Life Dredge', I changed my mind about stuff. I'd like to take this chance to ask: if any of you ever see me buying anything, or even looking like I might be thinking about buying anything, please gently remind me that in three years' time I will be sitting in the middle of the floor, desperately trying to cram said thing into a box, covered in dust, weeping.
2. Start dusting, you slattern.
As Quentin Crisp famously had it, after four years you don't notice the dust. But great though that theory is, it follows the same rule as your hair starting to wash itself if you leave it for three weeks - that is, you will never quite make it long enough to find out if it's true. So after three years of astonishingly slovenly behaviour, my own dust farm had got to the point where it was just easier to move. I'll always wonder how it might have looked if I'd made it that one extra year.
3. There are only so many cheese graters a person needs, and that number is one.
We somehow have three. One is battery powered, one has a special box to catch the gratings and one is a box grater in the traditional style. I plan to spend the next few weeks on an exciting culinary adventure into the logistics of what can and can't be grated. There will be grated toast for breakfast, grated carrot for lunch and grated roast beef and yorkshire pudding for dinner, accompanied by a choice selection of 'graters are great' puns. Until it gets… grating.
4. Ikea hates us all.
You're Swedish and quirky, we get it. We love it. We love that our bookshelf is called Agnetta and our toothbrush holder is called Värgashmargan, and that your meatballs cost less than your carrier bags. We love that if we're a couple, we can hold hands and frolic through the bedding section like in 500 Days of Summer. And if we're single, we can look at the frolicking couples and remember that they break up in the film. There really is something for everyone.
But, for the love of Abba, why can't you just write 'double' and 'single' on your sheets instead of all the baffling geometric diagrams? So that philistines like myself don't get all the way back from Edmonton to find they've bought the wrong size and their bed curls up like a banana. Please. Thanks.
In which I consider what's in a name
18 hours ago