Monday, December 06, 2004

“The things you own end up owning you.”

The Movie: Fight Club, 1999 (Jim Uhls, screenwriter, from the novel by Chuck Palahniuk; David Fincher, dir.)
Who says it: Brad Pitt as maverick entrepreneur and total psycho Tyler Durden
The context: Durden is commenting on the lifestyle of the Narrator (Ed Norton), whose apartment is full of brand-name electronics and mass-produced furniture.
How to use it: Before you buy anything else.

I've never been a shopper. I'm not an accumulator, except of books. And maybe of CDs. And friends, of course. Okay, never mind that part. But I'm not a shopper, and it makes me anxious to own too much, because everything I own is something I could lose or wreck. (Yes, I've discussed this in therapy. It still feels like a rational perspective.)

And this week is a case in point. This week I am getting my car back -- it's ready now -- and my stuff is supposed to arrive from California. In both cases, I have to shell out large amounts of money in order to get back what's already, theoretically, mine. I know that's not what's really happening; I'm paying for a service related to my stuff and not for the stuff itself, but that's not how it feels.

Then again, I'd pay almost anything just to sleep in my own bed again. It was my first purchase in California, and I got a great deal on it. It's a queen-sized Serta with a pillow-top mattress, which seemed almost criminally self-indulgent at the time. But my friend Caroline, a screenwriter who actually does a lot of her writing in bed, said, "No, you spend a third of your life in bed. You need to buy something good." The headboard is a brass-and-ceramic set of rails I inherited from my friend Nan when she moved to Arkansas; it was the only piece of furniture I moved from D.C. to L.A.

It's not true that I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in three months, but this morning it feels that way.

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