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"A City on a Rock, long attributed to Goya, is now thought to have been painted by 19th-century artist Eugenio Lucas Velázquez. Elements of the painting appear to have been copied from autographed works by Goya, and the painting is therefore classified as a pastiche." Wikipedia
"About half of this stuff could evaporate without either of us ever missing it."

Things start GettingRealer when I put them into boxes. I classify—however temporally, however temporarily—creating definite descriptions, however actually misleading. I'm creating a Periodic Table of our Possessions, curious box fellows only intended to last through a brief transition, though I know for certain some of these items will never again see the light of any day. Apples and oranges easily fit into boxes intended for neither, my purpose more focused upon clearing shelves than in preserving any implicate order. In so doing, I disrupt what was once a definite order which eroded into a mild chaos over time. An expedient extraction or a hasty addition, The Muse respecting her notion of preserving coherence while walking all over mine, a thousand small diversions resulting in the mess I'm packing. About half of it disgusts me, kept in the pantry more so nobody could see it then because it carried any particular meaning or value. It's ours, we own it, and we can't quite bear to part with it during this time when we seem to be losing so very much. We'll drag that curious implement we never use lest we lose it in the transition. I imagine that I'll more easily part with it once I'm on the other side of HeadingHomeward. Real change, GettingRealer, demands much delusion.

Previous moves, the ones where The Muse's work picked up the tab, professional packers loaded our boxes.
I sort of supervised—by which I mean, I witnessed—answering odd questions and periodically failing to stay out from underfoot. I watched, though, and thought that I was learning something, but theirs was well-practiced performance filled with subtle movements and benefiting from extensive prior experience. I'm learning this time, when I'm the packer, that I understood their contribution just about as well as I might play a violin after watching a few masters perform. The packers' profession holds the social status of invisible janitor, their skill level appreciated only through omission. If grandma's china tea cup shows up broken on the other side, mother might blame the packer without appreciating the contradictions contributing. A packer must quickly assess each item's nature then combine it with something similar, wrap it, stack it, then stuff it, all in less than a minute, without access to its history or deeper meanings. Everything might well be precious but it needs to be boxed with blinding speed, velocities I cannot replicate when every damned item elicits some fresh emotion. They pack anonymous belongings while I attempt to pack our theres and thens. I secretly hope some of this shit gets lost or broken.

It all seems a fundamentally heartless operation, for I must dissociate to achieve anything like efficiency. I become like a ten year old, aching to understand and assimilate the true meaning of everything, lest any item lose its significance when transporting. I'm also imagining where each item might end up on the other end of the journey. My Sharpie scribbles on three sides of every box so that my misleading label might be seen whichever angle the box gets stacked: BSMT PANTRY, in letters very likely only I can read. I'm diligent, though, as if my guerrilla classifying was adding real value. Once boxed, even the most precious items are lost. It will be Hell unpacking this mess on the other end. I keep on packing.

When all this was theory, it seemed as though it might be challenging but basically simple to achieve. Head bone connects to neck bone and no other, right? In practice, I find that I'm packing ants and elephants side by side in the same box, and often a box not really intended to contain ant/elephant combinations, as if any box would have been so intended. Proximity often guides my combining since I continually seem to have boxed myself in and I want to avoid disrupting whatever's passing for flow. I survey the remaining and find I'm no better informed than I was before I started. I'd imagined fluid progression but I dog paddle through it, style points left for professionals. I resent some of my stuff now that it's no longer benignly stacked and stored away. The Muse wants the basement storage closet sorted, but it was where we stored the unclassifiable when we first moved in and has been our resident No Man's Land since. Land mines lurk in there and I know it, and those seem best left for last.

Time alone ultimately defines a context within which this GettingRealer might be accomplished. They call it a deadline for good if utterly fictional reasons, for no execution's actually scheduled. Imagination projects one on the baring cave wall, though, and I want to avoid becoming the HeadingHomeward resident embarrassment. I want the moving truck driver to look at me with astonishment at what I've accomplished. I need someone to see the tidy stacks of boxes filled with the usual chaos. Each container should, by all rights, be addressed to Pandora since all the evils of our world will be unleashed again once we unpack them. Then, a different order will emerge, one perhaps informed by earlier arrangements but one necessarily adapted to a whole 'nuther context. Some stuff will just go back onto the same shelf it inhabited before we left on exile, having been stored, stockpiled, sorted, and moved a few times in-between without us ever imagining actually using it. Other things have been in continual use since somewhere near the beginning of The Dark Ages, and their patina will continue to deeply influence our daily lives there again. The tiniest imaginable items will very likely set the tone, for that's what GettingRealer really means. About half of this stuff could evaporate without either of us ever missing it.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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