Tuesday, September 07, 2010

from the "time machine" dept.

A book of dreams? Of history? Or just junk?

Despite my constant wanderings, I still keep a large storage unit just outside of Vancouver. It's big -- 7'x9'x7' -- and it's packed with the remainders (and reminders) of my material life.

There is some stuff in it that needs to go, like old furniture. There's some stuff that I want to keep, like travel souvenirs and books. And there's some stuff I have to keep, like 7 years of tax paperwork.

As much as I'd like to do away with it all, I can't. Due to the amount of stuff I have squirreled away and the logistics of paring it all down, the path of least resistance is to just keep it in storage for 100 bucks a month. For now, anyway.

Sadly, I totally fall into the storage company's business plan. Sucka!

Last weekend I went to visit my stuff at its home in a big warehouse in Delta, BC. I opened up my storage container and was nearly crushed by a cascade of cardboard boxes overflowing with reminders of my previous adventures, of which there have been a few. Paintings from Ghana. Sand from Malta. Beer cans from Portugal.

I wasn't visiting my stuff to risk life and limb or to take a stroll down a junky memory lane. No, I was looking for some specific stuff to take with me to Mexico at the end of the month: hiking shoes, rain gear and other assorted bits and pieces that I want to have down south.

In one big Rubbermaid tub, I spotted a thick black book. A Daytimer. The faux leather was cracked and pieces of paper stuck out from between its pages. Feeling like Indiana Jones, I blew off a layer of non-existent dust and threw it open.

Inside was a treasure trove of a past life. Specifically from the years 1996 and 1997, when, at a tender young age, I:

- Quit my job at CKY TV, Winnipeg
- Decided to travel to Bosnia to produce a documentary
- Went freelance and turned down an investment opportunity with Frantic Films (d'oh!)
- Moved to Vancouver to start a new television station (now CTV BC)

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anyway... Inside the front cover, a clear pocket held a mix of memories. Vancouver Television business cards, notes from girlfriends (!) past, and a label from a long ago enjoyed Moosehead beer. But this was just the beginning. There were more old business cards, a yellowed Far Side cartoon and lists of phone numbers of current and not so current friends.

My favourite Far Side panel

Pages and pages of people, places and long forgotten important reminders including hockey games, Spanish lessons and fancy dinners in L.A.

Hangin' with Wolfie, no doubt.

I'd intended to toss the whole collection into the trash. But in my ongoing struggle to banish stuff my life, I find I win some battles and lose others. This one may be lost.

Can I really toss out a phone list from 1992? A stamp from the United Nations post office in New York? My Halifax and Dartmouth library cards?

Flotsam and Jetsam

A pragmatist would say yes. But I think I'll say no. Not because these bits and pieces in and of themselves mean much. But because taken together, they mark a major transition in my life when I quit a full-time job and travelled to distant lands before starting a fresh, new chapter.

Sort of like today.

1 comment:

Beth Berry said...

Love this, Doug, and I'm with you. Those bits and pieces of paper are valuable reminders of the person who created the guy you are now. I recently read a college paper I wrote on sustainable farm systems...it was brilliant, and I was 20! It's good for perspective to reflect on the way our choices have shaped us.