Wednesday 30 January 2008

Favourite things

I was going through my wallet today just cleaning it out as you do every five years or so and came across a couple of pieces of paper that made me smile. Memories. Happy memories. Small treasures.

Funny how one man's trash can be another man's treasure. Just look at Ebay for example. I am in love with the whole concept of buying and selling online. I have bought 'stuff' on Ebay on and off for some years but never sold anything until recently.

Some harsh economic times forced me to sell a few things including 'stuff' given to me by the evil X. They were snapped up quickly even though I had pangs of guilt that I should have warned people about the bad karma that may exude. But those thoughts were quickly replaced with the overriding thought that what they don't know won't hurt them...... maybe some folk would delight in owning something a sociopath had selected, then again, most would not.

Ebay excites me. I love the whole concept of taking pictures, writing a marketing spiel and wrapping the 'stuff' as nicely as I can so the buyer will get a surprise when they open the post. I mean have you ever been in the situation where you have bought something and you cannot wait for it to arrive only to open the package and find not only is it 10 times smaller than you thought but it also smells of putrid cigarette smoke. Oh yes, memories of the diamond earrings..that were so small I had to use a magnifying glass to put them in my ear. My Ebay aim is to give the buyer an unexpected surprise. To make the item better than they hoped it could possibly be. I feel like I am gifting the universe or something.....

Anyway, back to what I started to write about - the bits of paper in my wallet - the non currency kind of course. Over the past couple of years I have come to appreciate the real value of the 'stuff' we spend our whole lives collecting only to find we can't take it with us when we die. It's not the value of our things in monetary terms but what these things represent to us, a person, a memory, an achievement, a laugh or a success.

Here are two bits of paper I carry in my wallet.

This is a tiny little book my daughter made when she was about 5. It was called Merry Merry Christmas (sic). It is all about Jesus, Santa and home. It is a bit battered and bruised but the detail is wonderful. It is just so sweet and so tiny and cute - just like its author. Truly, whenever I feel down, I pull this rumpled little book out, read it and instantly feel happy.

The second piece of paper I carry around is an Origami bird that my father gave me after a trip to Japan. It is perfect. Origami was a big thing when we were kids. I remember my father went to the World Ballooning Championship and his stories were fascinating. Of course looking at this tiny bird also makes me feel kind of guilty. I persuaded my father to bring me back some duty free perfume - Chanel N0 5 - my favourite - on his return. The poor man, not knowing a damn thing about perfume, ended up buying the concentrate perfume which costs hundreds of dollars as opposed to the eau de parfume. I felt so bad. The even sadder thing is I took that bottle with me on a work trip soon after (no, I have never been that practical when it comes to Chanel). The transit bus I was taking from the airport crashed into a tram stop and we all ended up in hospital. The Chanel didn't fare any better. Let's just say my suitcase smelt divine for a long time thereafter. I never could tell my father about that little incident....and I am pretty sure he never bought another bottle of perfume ever again either.

See, little stuff can mean big stuff sometimes.

In 2003 my home nearly burnt down in a bushfire. 600 houses were destroyed and four people died. I have never been near a bushfire before but the intensity of the flames and the heat was overwhelming. Anyway, when we were told to 'evacuate' I panicked about what to take. Of course a crisis such as this meant practical solutions. I took a different thought path and ended up with this little lot before I made a fast getaway.

First, was my makeup case. For obvious reasons. Then I took my jewellery, after all, every piece tells a story. Then, I took my Royal Shakespeare prints off the wall. I mean those had cost me £1 each when I bought them in London 20 years earlier and a few hundred more then to frame. Gosh, they represent lots of stories too. Then I took my really expensive linen because it is like a collection - the 6 million count linen. A stool belonging to my grandmother which my father had spent ages sanding back and repainting. And some photos.

I never even thought of taking clothes to wear or essentials like insurance policies. This experience made me realise, that one, I am not logical at the best of times let alone in a major crisis and two, the things that are the most expensive are not necessarily the most treasured. I had to evacuate all over again, I would still do the same except perhaps I would also take the paperwork and laptop too.

I also took some of my treasures with me when I moved overseas for a couple of years. My partner scoffed at the 'rubbish' I had bought with me. I should have guessed then that he could not see the real value in anything or appreciate me and my stories.

Focus on the little things because they often mean the most when its all said and done.

I guess I will be allowed to take a few things with me when I finally move on, as in kick the bucket, won't I? I guess they would have to have Chanel in Heaven though.....surely.

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