Yes, it’s true. By the time you read this, I will be staring at the ceiling of my temporary studio apartment, wondering what the hell I was smoking when I decided to leave the velvet box-like comfort of Charleston for the Heartland of America. For those of you who haven’t heard, I have accepted a job at an alternative station in Kansas City, Mo. Why? Well, it’s a smart move for me career-wise, I’ll be reuniting with an old friend and mentor, and they have a free Golden Tee machine in the break room.
Getting ready for the relocation has been extremely stressful. I arrived in this town at the ripe age of 23 with three trash bags full of ratty clothes and a box of books; looking around my apartment last week, I couldn’t help but wonder how I acquired so much shit. My pack-rat nature and tendency to place sentimental value on inanimate objects has been an ongoing battle — old Happy Meal toys, screenwriting notes from college, and clothes two sizes too small seem to have the upper hand. I’ve always attributed my little sickness to the fact that since it’s so hard for me to carry on a healthy romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex, I’ve put value in the junk I’ve accumulated over the last five years. That antique phrenology head will never talk back. My favorite pair of John Fluevog shoes will never walk away. And my collection of Day of the Dead figurines will happily follow me wherever I decide go.
In anticipation of the big move, I’ve decided to start purging myself of old belongings that have no place in my current life. I soon stumbled upon the box of old boyfriend artifacts. After most of my break-ups, the relationship is still too fresh for me to let it go entirely. I usually gather the items that the former man of the moment has given me, or keepsakes that remind me of him, stash them in a box, and hide it in my closet until the point I’ve completely forgotten about it. As I opened the box and waved away the thick cloud of dust in the air, I found two old T-shirts, short little love notes, movie ticket stubs, and a few small gifts including a paperweight biosphere. At the time I packed these items, I couldn’t even look at them without tearing up a little, but now, it’s just another box of useless trash.
My apathetic reaction makes me worry that maybe I’m more callous and cynical than I used to be. Have my short five years in this town caused me to develop an even thicker skin than I came in with? Or am I just coming to terms with forgotten feelings and forging ahead?
I guess the Hollywood way to deal with the “Box o’ boyfriends” would be to invite my girlfriends over, make margaritas, build a bonfire in the backyard, toss in the old keepsakes, and then ritualistically dance in a circle to a bad remake of the Gloria Gaynor classic, “I Will Survive.” But I just don’t have the energy for such a clichéd ceremony. So the items sit in a large green trash bin, waiting to be picked up and thrown into a landfill. Maybe one day the city will build a park on top of that particular landfill. Then at least I could know that those once meaningful items have been put to good use.