Reflections on Wood
Over the past year I have written a half dozen events for companies immersed in the universe of technology and big data. I currently have five different email addresses and communicate digitally through a dozen collaboration websites. Looking for me? Try Blue Jeans, Base Camp, Skype, Google Plus or Adobe. I never sleep. I am always on.
I wordsmith until there are no words left and yet the few pages I actually print out float harmlessly into the waste basket. I have three completed novels, yet these days it would be easier to garner an audience with Kim Jong-un than fortune a response from an agent. Ignore is the new hello. We don't read email, we clear it. Everyone is walking around with their heads down talking to themselves. The silence is deafening. Is there anybody out there?
Recently, my ex-wife moved in with her boyfriend, taking my kids and leaving our old jelly cabinet in her empty apartment. The weathered boards have the year 1931 burnt into them. Mrs. C. Emmons of Cambridge, MA resides on one of the planks. Lot 5516. The rest of the wood's lineage is faded and freighted. It weighs a ton.
When my ex told me the jelly cabinet was mine if I wanted it, I vacillated. We get along fine. I bought her that beat-up antique for three hundred bucks when we were newlyweds in Rockport, MA. We loved it back then. I wondered if that was baggage I wanted to bring into my house a dozen years since we parted.
In the end I could not bear the thought of leaving it on the street. I snagged a $19 U-haul and with the help of my 6'1" son, dragged it across Park Slope and parked it in my living room. We stared at one another for a while, that jelly cabinet and I. Why were you here? What were your intentions?
Then I filled a glass bowl with some warm water and Dawn and started scrubbing away the dust and memories. The wood took on a rich textured hue. Imperfections rose to the surface. I stared at its empty carcass and realized anything old could become new again. I'll leave its doors open tonight. I have a lot of memorabilia that's been cluttering the apartment, looking for a home. The jelly cabinet has survived nearly 90 years of storing other people's stuff. Time to create a few new shelves for myself.