Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reading the fine print

Today our older son’s lovely landlady called to tell us she was showing the apartment he’s vacating (he’s spending fall semester studying in Seoul, South Korea) to some prospective tenants, and they were interested in buying his furniture.

Specifically: his platform bed and new box spring and mattress, futon and wire cube storage unit, kitchen table and two mismatched chairs, and even his dishes.

While Erik and his father texted back and forth, negotiating what he wanted to keep (bed et al and dishes) and what he didn’t (futon and storage unit), my inner hoarder kicked in with a vengeance.

The thought of parting with that little JC Penney table, a wedding gift from my in-laws (one I am ashamed to admit I was always indifferent about), horrified me, the matching chairs long since discarded in some dumpster in some state we called home in the course of our nearly 29-year-marriage.

So I planned to write some sentimental twaddle about possessions and the meaningfulness and meaninglessness of their existence—and then I logged onto Facebook.

In matter-of-fact language an old college friend posted he had cancer. Treatment is pending, but he was happy he can still take a planned trip with one of his children. His spirit is indomitable.

Waxing woefully about an old table now seems stupid and pointless. Besides, Erik wants to keep the table. It really is a sturdy thing that will fit nicely into his first apartment somewhere, whether it be Baltimore or Berlin or points in between.

And railing about the unfairness of life seems pointless, also. We all know life isn’t fair. If we don’t, it means we neglected to read the fine print. The unfairness of existence can be debilitating. If we dwell on it, how can we truly live?

Instead I’m just going to say ‘thank you’ to Mark Zuckerberg for the means to stay in touch with a vast array of old and new friends, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters-in-law. And a bigger ‘thank you’ to God for these people who make life worth living, fine print and all.


  1. Pam, What a great post! Letting comes in all forms! But you're right, it's great that we have ways of holding on to what really matters!


  2. Sometimes things happen that changes our perspective in seconds. Hope your friend is well soon.
    This is what I posted on facebook this morning - because it fits me.

    "Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions." --Peace Pilgrim

  3. You are so right. I am very bad about keeping 'things.' I am very sentimental and like to hold onto possessions, but I would much rather have the person to hold onto than the thing that reminds me of them. But, if we can't have the person, I guess a memento of them will have to do. Things can be replaced, but friends and family cannot.