Thursday, October 06, 2005

Free Stuff For Sale

So we moved. To Toronto. For no apparent reason. In a u-haul that had no shocks.

This is our story.

A short blonde woman was going stir-crazy living in small town Cornwall, Ontario. She began dropping hints to her husband, such as "I want to move", "let's move", and "get me out of here before I kill us both."

Eventually the husband, who we'll call Jason, began to think that maybe his lovely wife wanted to move or something. So he put out feelers, thinking it would be mighty responsible of him to find a job and a home before striking out. But the beautiful and luminescent wife, who we'll call Jay, said something to the effect of "NOW!!!" and so they pilfered boxes where they could, and packed up all their belongings, rented a truck that did not look road-safe, and went.

But not smoothly. Oh no, they did not go smoothly.

First, they encountered the universal packing problem. Too much stuff, too few boxes. Where had all this stuff come from? When a couple gets together, they bring their stuff together. He had stuff, and she had stuff. At first, her stuff, pink and frilly, sat uncomfortably beside his stuff, plaid and ugly. But eventually his stuff and her stuff co-mingles. It becomes just general stuff. A year or two into things, the couple will take a look at their stuff and decide what should go, and what should stay. Mostly, his stuff will go. They find that although they have 2 copies now of the same Smashing Pumpkins albums, neither of them owns a frying pan. So the couple goes out into the world and buys new stuff, jointly. They outfit their home with all the essentials: linens, cookware, decor, appliances, etc. Then they decide to get married, and people bring them gifts to celebrate the engagement. Then there are bridal showers, to which people bring gifts to celebrate. And the wedding, to which people bring gifts to celebrate. And even though the couple has been living together for years now, therefore obviously having at least one of all the essentials, people give gifts of towels and towels and more towels, and pots and pans, and sheets, and other stuff that the couple neither needs nor has room for, but must politely be grateful for nonetheless.

And then, over time, the stuff they bought and the stuff they were given gets together and multiplies. And then one day, the couple will move. And they will want to place their heads inside the nearest oven for fear of all this stuff.

Yes indeed. This is what happened to Jay and Jason.

Previously, they lived in a spacious 2-level, 2-bedroom townhouse in Ottawa. It had its own storage room, laundry room, walk-in closet, balcony and patio. Jay and Jason filled this space quite well. When they moved to Markham, however, they discovered that there are no apartments or townhouses for rent there. All renters live in basements of large houses in massive subdivisions. These basement apartments come in 2 varieties: large and disgusting, or small and clean. Jay and Jason thought long and hard on this subject: was it better to possibly contract some sort of fatal disease from the mouldy carpet in one's dwelling but have room for the 87 pairs of shoes that Jay insists she cannot get rid of, or to live in a hole that is literally smaller than the walk-in-closet at the last place? They mulled and mulled, and then chose the option that would allow them to shower without special shoes.

However, once they had all their boxes towering over them in the tiny new apartment, they began to regret this decision. Jay and Jason are 2 people: Jay, and Jason. They own 37 bath towels, 4 beach towels, 10 hand towels and most puzzling, 22 face cloths. Jay and Jason do not have a linen closet in which to put all these towels. They have 7 casserole dishes; 3 sets of sheets for a single bed, though they do not have a single bed; a barbecue and patio set though they have no patio; an air-conditioner that is much too big for the basement-sized windows; 18 mixing bowls and 7 decorative bowls; camping gear out the ying yang; exercise equipment that actually can't even be assembled in such a small space...well, you get the idea. Their stuff has given them migraines. There is no floor space. Every available surface area is piled high with stuff. Jay's friends are on suicide watch based on the clutter alone.

Anyone need a fax machine? Porcelain doll? Doggie-sized leather coat trimmed in leopard print? Folding lawn chairs? 25 leis? Wedding dress? PS2? Please?

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