Stuck in the Attic, Thinking about Foreplay and Bull Durham

How is your day going?  Mine is beyond marvelous. Okay, that might be a bit strong. Make that fine. Oh fine, it isn’t fine at all.  It’s a bit poopy, or in this case, dusty and spider-webby. My husband is starting a new job on Monday and one of the requirements is that he produce proof that he has a bachelor’s degree. Really? Really. So that meant a mad scurry through the vast quantities of boxes in both the attic and basement looking for the dang, dusty and expensive thing. To say my fair-to-middling mood quickly deteriorated is a mighty fine example of hyperbole indeed. Faced with the fact that I may have more in common with a guest on A&E’s Hoarders than I’d like to admit, I did what I do best. I let my mind run wild. Which means I started thinking about quotes from Bull Durham. What? Doesn’t everybody do this?

I am well aware that the way my mind moves is perhaps a bit mysterious to other folk. But I still find that to be surprising.  After all, I’m not exactly the most flexible soul on the planet so I’m surprised to find my mind to be so much more agile than other more average folk. What is probably more likely is that I’m simply more willing to admit it than my more  circumspect peers. Whatever. To know me is to love me or some such drivel.

Mister Soandso has been home this week getting all his ducks herded into a tidy little row in preparation for Monday’s morning. (See above for example of his technique which incorporates “hon, have you seen my ‘x’?”) Because we have been spending a bit more quality time together than usual, he noted that I am perhaps even more random now that my 43rd birthday is approaching. More likely culprit? Spending 21 years with someone is bound to make some of his/her peccadilloes a bit less appealing. So the fact that no fewer than 15 single lines from songs passed my lips whilst I was making myself an espresso seemed a bit excessive to him. Or in his words, “it is really amazing what passes through your mind.”

Thanks hon. It is amazing, isn’t it? Rather like being a satellite capturing wee bits and pieces of stuff and sharing all of it with you. Monkey mind indeed.

My reality is that my whole life is a bit like this. I hum bits and pieces of hundreds of songs a day because they are stuck in my head, but only parts stuck. Half the chorus, or maybe the first verse–my head contains snap shots of my musical history. In fact, lines from movies, books, scenes from conversations, smiles from strangers at the grocery store, the first moment each of my babies lifted up their arms to be held, each time I’ve seen Miser Soandso cry, bits and pieces…I collect them all.

Several years ago, Mister Soandso and I made two terribly tragic decisions. We installed a pull-down ladder to our attic and we created a storage room in our basement. It seemed prudent to store things on-site rather than pay for a storage unit across town. Except that once you have space to save things, you do. And we did.  We haven’t saved so much as to actually win a spot on a reality television show, but enough to recognize that our survivors would have plenty of things to grouse about if we don’t deal with these boxes, storage bins and torn paper bags sooner than later.

The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself to be a saver. I love a spartan existence. Really, I do. I go to IKEA and I love the orderliness of it almost as much as I love the meatballs with lingonberry jelly. And yet, there I was. Stuck in the attic. I was surrounded by boxes and camping gear jumbled about, the creepy eyes of Middlest’s bouncy horse seeming to follow my every move. A ten year career in teaching, contained in only 4 paper boxes. A spare twin box spring. 5 containers of Christmas ornaments, 7 containers of Halloween things, 1 container of various snow boots…well, you get the picture. As each potential container proved itself to not be the repository of the missing diploma, I had two choices. I could let myself get a tad bit pissy over the whole thing or I could let my mind wander just enough.

And what wandered through was  “‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay.” That is one of my favorite lines from Bull Durham.  (Who am I kidding, the whole dang movie is filled with quotable moments. Kudos to you mister Rick Shelton!)  I’ll admit I love that line because it is proceeded by the reading of poetry to men, but it’s still a great line.

Which makes me think about foreplay. Fore + play. Such a strange little word. I actually looked up the etymological history of it. It isn’t exciting. What is it about foreplay that we like so much? Now, before everyone raises the collective eyebrow, let me clarify that question in a way that might hint at how my mind played with the word. Why do most of us enjoy starting projects more than doing and/or completing them? There is something palatable about the anticipation of an act, event or season that encourages us to collect stuff. Example, how many of you have containers of holiday paraphernalia? In addition, there is something comforting in starting things. And for so many, there is comfort in collecting things that matter to us. Be it rocks from beach walks or craft projects evidencing the aging of our children, we collect. Life experiences influence our need to collect such as interests (baseball or Pokemon cards), activities (sporting goods or hats) and issues (depression or even The Depression). All are gatekeepers for what ends up collecting dust and spider webs in our lives.

So it makes sense that we collect. I think sometimes we collect only because the natural culmination of an activity is boring or tedious. Opening the mail is fun. Recycling the junk mail, where is the fun in that?  That crazy cat lady who leaves her artificial Christmas tree up year-round? Is it possible she simply can’t bear the thought of putting it all away with all the rest of her collection of stuff that it makes more sense to simply hang miniature American flags on it in July?

Most of us hold onto stuff because we don’t want to forget it. But I hold onto stuff because I don’t want to get rid of it. Actually sorting through things, dust wafting in the air and spider webs making my skin crawl, is a task so heinous that I mastered the art of putting a door between me and all that stuff.

I don’t need the stuff to remember the events. I only need my memories of the events. My mind has lots of bits and pieces of moments, all stored away next to the songs I liked at the time. My mind is a hoarder of all the shiny bits of my time here. What I need is a bigger trash can and the will to fill it. My mind can stay filled, but my attic could use some cleaning.

7 thoughts on “Stuck in the Attic, Thinking about Foreplay and Bull Durham

  1. You’re one of those “organised” people (like me) who “files” great swathes of stuff away instead of making a tough decision to dump it. But hey – we’re both creating treasure troves for the future.

  2. I love that line from Bull Durham, too! Great movie.

    And, sadly, I fear my basement could easily rival yours. I just know if I get rid of anything, I’m going to need it next week. 😉

  3. What I find is odd is that “most” other people seem to be able to go through their days without being constantly bombarded with song snippets, dialog quotes, flashes of random(but precious) visuals from any time between two seconds ago to fifty years ago, etc., etc. etc., And then there’s all those various and sundry personal head trips – you know some of the kinds I mean.

    Which is to say, at least your attic a/o basement can’t possibly be as much a sign of vast collection as your mind must be.

    But doesn’t it yield up lots to talk and write about? 😉

  4. I love movie lines, too. There is one along the same thought in “Six Days, Seven Nights.” Harrison Ford says, “Ya know how a woman turns a guy on? She shows up. But ya probably can’t sell a magazine for six bucks if it just says that.” Or something close to that. Also, in “City Slickers,” Billy Crystal says, “Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.” Did you find the diploma? A few years ago, I finally framed mine and posted it in my classroom. In some schools, they have everyone do that.

Comments are closed.