June 18, 2004

Lavabo, Baltimore Maryland Posted by Hello

An Intrepid Traveler

As I am attempting to pack for my year-long adventure, I am torn between practicality and material attachment. I want to travel light-that is bring just what is needed to survive in Senegal; but am also desirous to bring little, futile items that remind me of home: a winter scarf that my mother gave me for Christmas, a book on interior decorating that I dream of at nights, Japanese dolls that remind me of my travels. I am also required to bring items that are essential to my survival in Senegal, items that frankly I would rather leave behind to make more space for my various face creams. These include awkward plugs for my computer and camera, a year’s worth anti-malarial medication, ridiculously large sunscreen tubes, and several folders of indispensable administrative papers. In packing, I am reminded of a remarkable woman who, despite having grown up with few possessions, is nonetheless confronted with the same decisions.

Beryl Markam lived in Kenya in the 1940s. She wrote her biography in a book titled West with the Night. When her father’s farm goes bankrupt, she decides to stay behind and work as a horse trainer in a neighboring town. Later on, she learns to fly a small plane, a feat uncommon for a woman at the time. She is later commissioned by hunters who need her skills as a pilot to locate wild animals. She also flies rescue missions to save those daring explorers who crashed their plane or ran out of food before the end of their journey. As she prepares for yet another flight, she contemplates over her possessions:

"Meanwhile, haven’t I got two quarts of water, a pound of biltong-and the doctor’s bottle sleep (1) (should I be hors de combat and the Siafu (2) hungry that night)? I certainly have and, moreover, I am not defenceless. I have a L├╝ger in my locker-a gun that Tom has insisted on my carrying, and which can be used as a short rifle simply by adjusting the emergency stock. What could be better? I am an expedition by myself complete with rations, a weapon, and a book to read- Air Navigation, by Weems.
All this and discontent too! Otherwise, why am I sitting here and dreaming of England? Why am I gazing at this campfire like a lost soul seeking a hope when all that I love is at my wingtips? Because I am curious. Because I am incorrigibly, now a wanderer."

1 Morphine
2 Biting ants

June 02, 2004

The apartment that IKEA built

Well, everyday an item of furniture disappears from my place.

First it was the comfy IKEA sofa with black slipcovers and hand-sown (by yours truly) red pillows. I reminisced of the lovely naps I took instead of studying in the afternoons, and shed a little tear.

My IKEA lounge chair also went away. I guess it wasn't too thrilled that I used it to throw my numerous "nope the shirt is too tight/the color has faded/I'm too lazy to iron this/I have no shoes to match the hot pink/I should stop buying clothes at Forever 21" outfits. Sorry chair, I hope that your next owner is a hot, sweaty, smelly, burn guzzling man who likes to watch Baywatch and football games from 3PM to 11PM. Then you'll be appreciated for your true worth.

Then, it was the TV/VCR. Two androgynous looking people came to pick them up on the second day the ad went up. They both sported tattoos and black earrings--the ones that make large holes in your ear. I was relatively sure that they both had XX chromosomes until I noticed that they had unshaven legs and wore no deodorant. It made me confused. Either they were very empowered young women who swore off men and moved in together or they were sisters. The latter is unlikely since one was a gawky, tall red-head and the other a short, stocky Africa American. But boy did I miss my telly. I called her Nelly the Telly. How would I survive without the life-saving insight of Diane on Good Morning America about the latest age-defying makeup? Or Kojo's presentation of this season's must-have-beach-bags? It was hard but I did was any self-respecting person with no TV for entertainment does: I tuned in to Howard Stern before work.

Then it was the IKEA desk that was so wobbly that I never did use it except to accumulate all the papers that would otherwise be lying on the floor. A cute MIKA art student with dreads (you have to have dreads if you are to be an artist, that's a clause in the contract) bought it for a measly sum. It didn't cry too much thinking that it was better in her hands than mine. She's probably deconstruct it right now making some kind of cool structure with Epoxy glue and pink paint. Failing that, she can always burn it for heat when she's unknown and homeless.

Then it was my IKEA dresser and lamps. The dresser belonged to my parents for 20 years. Good thing my neighbor didn't inspect it too well before she bought it. The mold on the back of it can only appeal to a scientist. I cried a little bit, thinking about how useless it had been in my possession, its little shelves often flipping over, spilling my freshly cleaned T-shirts on the dirty floor. Then I laughed a little bit thinking that someone would actually want to buy it. Sucker.

Tonight, someone's buying my IKEA "this is where the magic happens" bed. Which of course is the biggest lie on the planet, judging from the lack of action that both the bed and I have seen this past year.

I'm desperately now trying to sell my IKEA dresser. It strikes me as ironic that all the crap was the first thing to go. This dresser is quality, no joke: no wobble, no mold, no bursting wood from moisture, no overjacked up price for a piece of wood. Contact me if you want to buy it.

All I have left is my IKEA chair. This one I won't sell. I can always use it to rock-back and forth, frothing at the mouth, thinking about all the stuff I need to do instead of blogging. On second thoughts, maybe I should get rid of it too. Just kidding mom, I DO appreciate your presents. Sheesh!

Old Rocking Chair Posted by Hello