Ah, there’s no time like Christmas to feel sentimental about a load of old crap.
I went to visit my parents last week (not this week, mind you. Our Christmas will be spent in our actual home, watching They Live and possibly Terminator 2!).
Sleeping in my old room — the centre of my cosmos for so long — is always a nice experience. I enjoy the nostalgia of being there, of course, but I also enjoy how the room has become less “my room” with every visit. My stuff has gradually moved out and my mum’s new decor and the sundries of a guest room have moved in.
The closet that held my clothes from birth to 21 is now a linen chest for visitors, my old desk a sort of display surface of ornaments to impress or entertain guests. Sweetly, there are framed posters on the walls of Forbidden Planet and Metropolis, little nods to things I liked as a teenager.
In the bottom of said closet is a small stack of comic books (the very last things of mine to still be there) but most evocatively for me, a floor of green shagpile from when this room really was mine — my childhood bedroom. That carpet had been replaced twice before I’d even moved out and it now brings back memories of playing with toys and wrestling with my sister. We once hid in that closet from a friend who’d come to play, eventually bursting out on her like monsters. I think that if my parents ever sell the house, a square inch of that carpet might, weirdly, be the souvenir I request.
Anyway, here is a funny piece from the Guardian about returning to the old hatching grounds and encountering “the family stuff,” which also makes me glad that I have so little of it.
One of the more sobering aspects of returning home for Christmas is encountering all the junk in the parental home which it has proved impossible to throw away. For years my dad ran a low-level campaign against my A-level notes and this was, in the end, successful. But after they went into the skip, the dust merely cleared to reveal mountains of other stuff – bits of old clothes, 30‑year‑old birthday cards, work diaries from the 1990s – all of which have survived several house moves and carry the air of the cockroach no manmade event can destroy.
I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos by young minimalists lately. I’ll post some faves here soon.