Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How Do You Measure It?

Remember that song from the musical Rent

Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred minutes,
Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred moments so dear,
Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred minutes,
How do you measure, measure a year?

I find myself singing that song in the kitchen.  Always the kitchen. Never the shower, never anywhere else, just the kitchen.  When I got to asking myself why, the answer was pretty obvious.

It's my dishes.

Every time I open the cupboard and look at my mish-mash of assorted bowls and dinner plates, I get feeling old.  Weird, right?  I guess I could have titled this blog post "What Makes You Feel Old?" but... it probably wouldn't have the same draw.

So, why do my dishes make me feel old?

Because I've been through so many sets.  I really don't feel old enough to be on my third (plus) set of dishes.  Part of the problem is that I'm a klutz and I've never owned a dishwasher.  I tend to drop dishes while I'm washing them.  And when enough plates get broken... well, what's a girl to do?  You buy another set.

I bought my first set of dishes when I was a teenager, in anticipation of moving out of my mother's basement.  The set was called "Italian Bistro" and it cost me $9.99 at one of those kitchen stuff stores.

The second set, I bought in my twenties.  They were blue with kind of a raku-inspired glaze.  I think I got them at Sears and I think they were $39.99?  Something like that.  Almost all of those pieces have since cracked or chipped.

After the blue ones, I gave up buying sets.  Instead, I bought pottery from local artists.  That's why I have way more bowls than anything else.  Bowls are more common and usually cheaper than plates, when you're buying from potters.

Now every time I look into my cupboard, I don't just see dishes--I see a history.  I see years of buying and breaking, of disposing and accumulating until all I have to show for myself is an eclectic mess.  

And that's me in a nutshell--an eclectic mess.  I measure myself in mismatched dishes, in Band-Aids of various shapes and sizes with yellowed paper casings coming apart at the seams, in odd socks and old underwear, in books I've read and books I've written. 

How about love?
Seasons of love...

How do YOU measure, measure a year... or a life?



Giselle has written hundreds of stories, including "Eclipse the Stars," a trans lesbian erotic short with all proceeds going to It Gets Better:

Jody and Renata have been together since the start of Renata's transition, and so much has changed in that time. Jody used to be the beautiful, successful actress, and Renata the mousy, insecure, girlfriend. Ever since Renata's surgery, though, she's gained confidence, stopped worrying about passing as female and, in Jody's eyes, blossomed into an incredibly gorgeous woman. Now Renata's gaining all the attention while Jody's getting less acting work and worrying about fading looks. Can Jody set her jealousy aside to give Renata the love, affection, and commitment she deserves?


Lucia said...

Thank you for your interesting story. I think it would make me smile, seeing all those bowls and dinner plates, they all have memories connected to them :)
I'm a bit young to really have a lot of things that make me measure my life, but for me it's everything I don't throw away. I am a person that just can't throw things away, that means I have too much stuff I won't ever use again, but for me, it are memories I don't want to throw away :)

Giselle Renarde said...

My mother is the same way, Lucia. Come to think of it, so is my girlfriend, but I try not to draw too many parallels there. LOL

I remember the first time my family went on vacation without me (I was a teenager with a summer job and finally allowed to stay home alone for two weeks straight) the first thing I did was start filling garbage bags with my family's basement junk. Basement junk included clothes that didn't fit anybody, broken toys, unidentifiable crap, etc. I must have thrown out/donated a dozen garbage bags of stuff, and it didn't make a dent. My mother never knew. (Shh...don't tell her! LOL)


Lucia said...

I understand you have to do away some stuff once in a while :P It's great you could help your mother in a way she didn't even notice. I hate when I have to do it, but my boyfriend helps me, even though I get my room full again within a week...