Even as I turn more of my focus to the outside world, to marches and protests, to research and reading I want to do to help better listen to the voices of those who cry out, the reality is that I have not significantly upped my journeys outside the confines of my house. We continue to go only to the grocery store, to pick up takeout food, and on walks on nearby trails–although last Wednesday we got into the car and went down to the lakefront trail. I had taken a half day off work, and because it was a weekday, the trail was not heavily traveled. That evening, I picked up takeout from a downtown Hamilton restaurant called Uncle Ray’s, having discovered that they are a sister restaurant to my beloved Union Chicken. Not only do they have the same fabulous chicken, they have additional sides, like wonderful cornbread. And on the way home, I saw delivery guys in front of August 8, which has now reopened for delivery and takeout. Takeout food — usually once a week–has become one of those little pleasures during this time.
Today, after watching an outstanding livestreamed roundtable featuring nine Black members (present and former) from the Stratford Festival discussing their experiences, we went for a walk and then resumed work on decluttering. I turned my focus to my jewelry. As I did, I realized that I had really developed an unhealthy habit of buying just about anything that caught my fancy–some of which I’d never even worn. I had multiples of the same piece in both gold and silver. I had all kinds of items with stars on them, from cheap junk from Ardene up through nice sterling silver pieces–again, most of which I’d never worn but once–if that. There were earrings I’d stopped wearing because they hurt my ears. There were silly macaroni-shaped earrings I’d picked up for free in a promo in Toronto many years ago–never worn. There were watches I hadn’t touched for years, most of which needed batteries. There were bracelets I had made and never even touched. I found five pendants from my trip to Nova Scotia — one beloved, four forgotten.
The story has been the same with clothing over the past few years. I have bought too much crap on impulse, just because I could, and it now clutters my life and my closet. Now I have a creeping sense of shame about it. The feeling I got from buying these items was almost always short-lived. To be sure, though, there are amazing things in my collections that I love and treasure. But they were the things purchased after careful consideration. Most of them are not cheap. But I just got so used to using every trip I made as an excuse for shopping.
I don’t think that will ever be a thing again. My future trips–when I’m able to make them–will focus on people, or sights, or experiences–things that create memories. I will never need another t-shirt or pair of earrings or scarf. They are just not what’s important in life.
We’re looking forward to making some kind of trip later this summer, provided we’re able–going somewhere, just the pair of us, where the scenery is gorgeous and maybe a few outdoor attractions have reopened. We”ll stay a night or two in a hotel, perhaps, keeping our physical distance but enjoying nature and the world around us. We may even do a day trip to Niagara with the same thought in mind. I just learned today that, as expected, the Shostakovich Quartet cycle we’d hoped to attend in Banff in October has been indefinitely postponed–although not cancelled, so there is something to look forward to, maybe next year.
And we cross our fingers that maybe, sometime in the near future, we might be able to visit a friend or two in person. We shall see how it goes.
Today marks the 76th anniversary of D-Day.