by Flora Jardine
formally separated, but not divorced. I'm not
ready to take that final step but we do live
under separate roofs, both of which are paid for
by me. I'm trying to make us less mutually-dependent.
WG's accommodation is more expensive than my own,
which is ridiculous. Who owns whom? I bought, or
was given, WG, yet as the years passed I realized
that I was the one being owned. I was enslaved,
for ownership is slavery.
my previous but now-expelled house-mate, I mean
my Worldly Goods. Some people say de-cluttering
is easy, but that's not true. It can be easier to
down-size human relationships than material ones.
Not yet ready for complete divorce I've set WG up
in a separate home, also known as storage.
A storage unit can cost more that an apartment.
It's big business, storage. So many years of
conspicuous consumption by successful bourgeois
people has meant enormous accumulations of
material possessions which have to be housed,
somewhere, by someone. Anyone who foresaw that,
who invested in storage depots decades ago, was
an astute businessperson.
It all began,
historians tell us, during the prosperous post-World
War II years when people had good jobs and enough
disposable income to buy lots of things.
They bought furniture, appliances, fashionable
clothes, cars, second cars, garden accoutrements,
gifts, art, chinaware ... Then they passed away
and left these WGs to offspring who didn't want
them, and grandchildren who wanted them even less
but who couldn't for sentimental reasons bear to
reject them. Each generation added new dimensions
to WG: yoga mats, kayaks, computers, climbing
equipment ... Next they'll be adding robots and
another wave of WG-spouses will have to be cast
off, or housed in separate quarters. One's own
house simply isn't big enough for both past and
present wordly-goods partners.
I know this
promiscuous poly-amorous relationship with ex-WG
is inappropriate. The mature thing to do is to
say goodbye to an ex, but that seems heartless.
We were together a long time. We're still friends.
I tried to hook WG up with new partners and
sometimes I succeeded, by holding speed-dating
yard sales. But WG as a whole still hung about
the house, watching me accusingly from corners
and cupboards. I had no space of my own; every
nook and cranny was occupied. These places became
hard to clean, and I'm tired of being the
caretaker in the relationship. As I said:
ownership is slavery.
No wonder WG
retirement homes storage lockers -- are so
popular. Most of us would never have predicted
when we fell in love with longed-ed for consumer
goods and knick-knacks, that the romance would
ever die. Who would have guessed that the object
of desire would one day seem unattractive?
Sometimes there was a long courtship (the saving
up of funds), while other times the knot of
ownership was tied on impulse. Either way one
didn't foresee a future when the love-object's
beauty would be marred by dents, scratches,
stains and other signs of old age.
an anniversary perhaps, I'll visit WG meaning to
end the relationship once and for all, but when I
arrive at that sad unit in the warehouse in a
shabby part of town, I feel uncomfortable. A
strange nostalgia stays my hand. So far. Even
though the support payments are killing me.
I try to hand
the problem over to my human ex. Hey! Would
you like me to give you those ... Bursts of
laughter erupt, drowning me out, knowing and
final. We really are friends, the human ex and I
(and neither gives support payments to the other),
but at times like this I remember old resentments.
Why did I end up with WG?
But ... they're family.
Keep them then.
Thanks a lot.
Ex-spouses can be so disloyal, while ex-WGs are
ever-constant, and just won't let go.