"...and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I own a lot of stuff. That's right. Stuff. I've been talking this one over with another one of my students (who reminded me of this great quote from Fight Club.)
And I've been repalying T.C. Boyle's Filthy With Things over and over in my mind, asking myself: Am I "filthy with things"? Am I that woman who will need to have a specialist stomp through my front doors to declutter my life? Will she barge in and head straight for the shelves decorated with my Where the Wild Things Are ornaments and toys? Or will she start in the kitchen with my dishes, carefully wrapping the twelve soup bowls, twelve cereal bowls, twelve dinner plates, twelve salad plates, twelve tea cups, twelve saucers, four appetizer plates, and three serving bowls while I am away at work? Will she force her way through the front door with her metal clipboard itemizing my jewelry, scribbling out details like ruby-butterfly-brooch, vintage-button-earrings, grandmother's-gold-and-red-class-ring, and fossil-watch-with-alligator-red-leather-band as if no memories are attached?
Will she arrive at the request of my husband one weekend when I am out of town, antiquing though Columbia, collecting a periwinkle FireKing bowl or bundle of antique buttons and playing cards? And will I arrive to an empty house, a list, and a stack of fees to buy back my great-grandmother Geneva's lace handkerchiefs, my great-aunt Agnes's Dutch boy and girl salt and pepper shakers, and my great-grandmother Teresa's blue and white tea cup in saucer within 60 days? Now. Tell. Me. Mr. T.C. Boyle: Will she arrive? Am I filthy with things? Are the things I own owning me, Mr. Palahnuik?
I want to say no, but I fear my charming husband may disagree.