My Things§

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: June 26, 2007; revised: April 24, 2018; readers in past month: 576

My Friend, Julye Jacomel
My Books in Milan

Furniture and books have become reoccuring images in my dreams related disconcerted feelings in my life. I will happen upon antique furniture pushed together out on a lawn or an open field, with many figurines and other decorations. Or I might find a couple dozen bookcases crowded together out in the open, with books stacked messily on the shelves and the bookcases precariously wobbling on the uneven surface of the ground and grass. My mind seems to associate these items with stability and a sense of home. When I feel my life is being disrupted, I dream of furnishings. In my reality, it seems that my furniture, my books, and my personal possessions are my home. My home is not defined by people anymore and not much by location, but primarily by things, my things. When my things are taken from me or otherwise withheld, I feel distraught.

When I left my old house and my ex-wife several years ago, I took very little of my things with me to my first apartment. It took months of adjusting and over two years to equip my apartment to become comfortable, to feel at home again. I did manage to bring with me a few furniture items and some personal memorabilia to give me comfort in the interim. Then one day I found a girlfriend about whom I was excited. So I gave up my apartment and moved all my things into her house. Within a short time, though, she kicked me out. This was painful in itself, but there was another aspect of it that disturbed me in that I couldn’t get my things out of her place quick enough. She took me back after a few days and then we split up again. We reconciled and parted every week: it was a topsy-turvy relationship. Still, although I managed to shuttle away more of my things with each break up, it was upsetting to be pushed out repeatedly and I felt in disarray since I still did not have all of my stuff. To make matters more upsetting for me, she seemed to use my possessions to hurt me. At one point she threw some of my things (a chair and ottomon, books, lamps, etc.) on her lawn — my nightmare. Another time after I left she threatened to give my sofa away to charity — which didn’t seem very charitable of her. In the end, she kept and still has a few items — including a desk I had from when I was a boy.

After many break ups, I managed to get almost all of my things out of the girlfriend’s home and I temporarily reestablished myself in my family’s lake front home, which is owned by my uncle. Unfortunately, he didn’t make me feel very welcome for long. One Mardi Gras he invited friends of his to stay at the camp and told me that I had to vacate for a few days. I had no where to go, so I slept in my car in the drive-way of an empty summer home a couple of houses away on the same street. Basically, I stayed closed to my things. Shortly afterwards, because my uncle was upset with me for having the girlfriend stay over a couple of times (he didn’t like her ethnicity), he rushed me out of there. He didn’t try to keep my possessions, but it still made me feel disconcerted and like a vagabond strapping my possessions to my car, taking several trips to relocate everything once again.

Fortunately, I was able to rent my old apartment again — it had come available just as I was looking for a new place. That was comforting. It took a couple of months to migrate my possessions back to my apartment and then months more, almost a year to replace the items I lost in my moves. Then the hurricane hit and I had to leave town a few days afterwards, staying at my editor’s home for six weeks. When I returned, I found that a friend of mine who stayed at my apartment while his house was being repaired took several items to his house. It was generally alright since I was in the process of giving my things away to my son and friends who lost their homes in the storm. Nevertheless, he took the items without asking and without my offering them. Strangely, he took things that he didn’t need. As far as I could tell, he took them just to take them. It hurt my feelings mostly because they were my household possessions. He took part of my home, part of me. He didn’t allow me to give him part of my home as I was doing with others. I hadn’t offered him my things, because he hadn’t lost anything that I had, that he might need.

Buy on Amazon I Have No Friends author: Russell J.T. Dyerpublished: 2016-01-15publisher: A Silent Killdeer Publishingisbn: 978-0983185437 Buy on Amazon After I disbursed the rest of my things (storing some minor items in my mother’s attic), I moved to Europe in an attempt to start fresh in life. I began the process of constructing a new home around me, of renting an apartment and of buying new furniture and possessions. I came here with cash from my car insurance and from my co-workers who wanted to help me start again. That made me feel good. However, my landlady took six months of rent from me in advance for an apartment that costs more than double of my old one. For me, that was equivalent to a year’s rent in one check. I had hoped to use that money to build a new home for myself, quickly. Instead, all I could buy was a mattress, a coffee pot, and a bike to start. Now after almost two years, I almost have all of the things I need. I’ve bought a bed, a desk, a kitchen table, pots and pans, a television, pictures, and many other small items that make life comfortable. I’ve also shipped most of the things I had stored in my mother’s house to me here. So now I have my memoriabilia to give a feeling of long-term familiarity to my surroundings. It’s beginning to feel like home.

All that remains is

More importantly, if I’m evicted, where will I go and how will I take my things with me. If I move in with someone, a girlfriend, what will happen if she throws me out one day? I can’t possibly quickly find another apartment and I can’t afford to live in a hotel. Besides, what about my things? They don’t have U-Haul here and I don’t have a car to transport my things. I have no resources or coping skills in this area in this country. What will become of my things? What will become of my home? What will become of me?