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Wednesday
Nov012006

The desire for everyday things

I had started to write a post on the colors of the autumn trees and appetite stimulants (which began sentimental and bright, yet limp, like a half-cooked Robert Frost poem: "So the trees are in their last burst of yellow"), and was about halfway through when I realized that I was boring myself just writing about it. The only remotely interesting line I was able to come up with was: "I don't, by the way, eat Big Macs in autumn. Only in the spring, on road trips. Every four years."

If that gives you any idea.

Instead.

For now.

I will relate yet another anecdote from my life that may deserve no more than the thin smirk normally afforded to a New Yorker cartoon caption...

Last night, in a mood which can only be described as "pepperoni-induced," I tried to convince the husband that we should buy one of these. My rationalization? "That's only 50 cents per wake-up for a whole year!"

Somewhere, probably deep inside my solar plexus, Common Sense (with his straight tie and pomaded hair) and his proud mistress Good Intention wag their fingers at me.

My attraction to this particular stereo is (as with everything) purely nostalgic. The large dial and wood casing remind me of the stereo in my grandparents' living room, where we would listen to Little Orley records and Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf." And, as with everything else that I remember fondly from my grandparents' house (the Dial antibacterial soap for handwashing, the flourescent undercabinet kitchen light that lit my grandma as she brought me slices of bread to quell my raging midnight heartburn), I must have it. It's not just their house. It's the kitchen stools from the apartment where I lived as an exchange student in Riga. The starburst frosted glass window that separated the two bathrooms in my childhood home. The old hulk of a Frigidaire in my grandmother's country kitchen. Even the brown speckled coffee mug my Dad used at work in the 1980s. These are the things I desire. I'm condemned to forever attempt to fill my world with replicas of the everyday items owned by people I love, like calling ghosts at a seance with a lock of hair.

If only these things all came as cheap as the Dial soap.

Today's soundtrack: Billy Bragg - "Greetings to the New Brunette" (YouTube)

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