There comes a point in every man’s life when he packs up his childish belongings and puts them in to storage. And then, there comes a point in his life when he reopens the boxes and for a moment re-embraces the man that was.
For me that point came last weekend.
As you likely already know, I was living in St. Catharines during the 2010-2011 school year to do my Masters. When I moved back to Halifax, I assumed it would be temporary and left most of my belongings in Ontario. What was supposed to be temporary went on for seven months. So when I ended up getting a job in Toronto, one of the perks was that I’d have half of my stuff returned to me. This weekend, I made the trek to Niagara and found my boxes neatly piled in my aunt’s basement where I had left them. I carefully opened each box, filled with things that I’d forgotten I own, and examined the contents thoroughly. This is what I found:
- Glow in the Dark Stars & Christmas lights: I think a bedroom’s lighting adds a lot of personality. In the boxes not only did I find glow-in-the-dark stars (which I purchased in my first year of college), but I found string after string of Christmas lights. I don’t believe Christmas lights should be seasonal. They’re now wrapped around my bed’s headboard.
- Spanish Cross: During my undergraduate, I taught Grade 7 Sunday School. While I had personal problems with faith, I loved (and continue to love) the subject matter. After my second year, they gave me a painted wooden cross as a sign of gratitude, which now hangs on my wall.
- A Vice Box: I believe everyone should have what I call a vice box (i.e. a box that holds all those little naughty personal pleasures). The vice box I found amongst my other belongings was a non-descript black box containing condoms, cigars, a bottle opener, and a copy of a drinking game that I had created years before.
- Books: I’m not a big reader, but I’m a big fan of the concept. I think if I dedicated more time to picking up one of the countless books I’ve purchased without perusing, I could really get into the hobby. In these boxes, I found quite an eclectic variety of books. There were:
- various comedic and political books written by authors like Al Franken and Stephen Colbert;
- a variety of religious books ranging from a Catholic Bible and Pope Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazerath” to “Religion for Dummies” and “The Brick Testament,” which is a copy of the Old Testament illustrated with Lego;
- Schulz and Peanuts (because I loved Charlie Brown growing up);
- and a Kama Sutra.
- An X-Box: I’d completely forgotten that I own an X-Box! My sister bought it for me for my 22nd birthday.
- Bobblehead Jesus & a Bobblehead Fisherman: My father was never a huge fan of my bobblehead Jesus. I, on the other hand, felt like it was the perfect manifestation of my Master’s thesis, which revolved around pop culture and religion. My sister purchased the bobble head fisherman, in his yellow slicker and Sou’Wester, to go with my Jesus when I originally moved to Ontario.
- A Small Black Frame: In the frame is a letter that my Grandfather sent me in my first year of university. The note is short, simple and written in barely legible cursive. It is dated September 10, 2005. At one point it reads: “Do I hear the girls outnumber the boys almost 8 to 1? I see! You guys don’t stand a chance. How I envy you.” It’s just so… Grampie. It strikes me as both funny and genuine. It is my grandfather in a nut shell. He loved women. He was human, but his humanity made him all the more likeable.
- Batman Mask: When I’d first moved to St. Catharines, I was close friends with a girl with a batman fetish. She mailed me the black plastic mask in one of her many care packages.
- Where the heck is Ausfahrt Germany? Mug: “Ausfahrt” is German for “Exit.” So when some people (myself included) enter the country, they mistake the signs reading “Ausfahrt” as signs for a town or city. That is, until they continue to see them wherever they go! This mug, which I had wanted but never purchased on my travels, was given to me by my first girlfriend’s parents.
- A Mini Food Processor & Slap Chop: I love to cook and when I first bought my mini-food processor I was incredibly impressed. I no longer have to chop onions? Sweet! I bought the Slap Chop years later and was very disappointed.
- Glass Breaker: My sister and I were visiting one of her friends at the engraving store and I saw this behind the counter. It looked like a little hammer and was labelled “Glass Breaker.” “Why would anyone ever need to break glass?” I thought. Then I asked her for it for my birthday.
- Shot Glass Collection: Everyone should have a collection of some kind. I collect shot glasses.
Separate, all of these things seem fairly arbitrary. However, like an archaeologist at a rich dig, I began to take the artifacts and construct a picture of who I was at a point in my life when I was single for the first time and truly embracing my identity. It’s a picture of someone who loves pop culture and the study of religion; someone tied to their family and traditions, but eager to examine that connection in often unorthodox and humorous ways. It paints a picture of a cook. A writer. A traveler. A Maritimer. A drinker. A lover. An eclectic. It’s a picture of the “me” I was and the “me” I’m becoming again as I start over in this new city.
After I was finished going through my artifacts, I threw a handful of the things into a bag and packed the rest to remain in the basement. As is usually the case when going through boxes of items you’ve lived without for nearly a year, they all sort of seem unnecessary. So I put away the past, with a few odds and ends brought with me to stay connected, and started to look towards the future.