“Ja,” the senior citizen said looking around my flat. “I read a book about getting rid of stuff. I am busy downsizing.”
He’d enjoyed the book he’d read about getting rid of stuff. He often enjoys mono-themed books from the NYT bestselling list such as an American book about having too much stuff. He’s not planning on moving from his large house anytime soon, yet his garden looks a little more ramshackle every year. “I have three bikes,” he confessed, as a full blooded Dutchman. “Why do I need three?” He confirmed flatly: “Downsizing, the way to go.”
He glanced around my flat again. I took half of my marriage with me to my new apartment, a one room space with an extra-large storage room, the storage room now housing the basic furniture that the flat contained when I’d moved in.
I’d downsized to get in there. “Is this all you have?” a family member asked rather astonished.
It’s all about how you perceive matters.
“What do you think I need to get rid of?” I asked the man with the three bicycles.
He paused, then he agreed, “Well you need the bookcase and the scores don’t you?”
Since I moved in two years ago, I have halved my clothes – lost weight, wore them out, operation, etc – and I don’t have much money for new items at the moment. I keep shifting everything around. If I wear x with y now, I could manage another season. I also read through five boxes of books and disposed of the ones I didn’t want to keep. Recently I got two free mugs with some packages of tea, and was pretty happy for the profit. I own a bookcase, two small chests of drawers for office papers (filled with music scores), a table, four lamps, a wooden barrel meant to contain drinks and glasses (it’s filled with books), two chairs, two pianos, one carpet and one piano bench. You could argue that I might downsize to one piano but one of the pianos is off site in storage out of sight.
“The pool,” she said to me in relation to her vacation plans, “is not optional. On the tennis court, nudity is a choice but in the pool it’s obligatory. It’s a great place,” she continued, “lots of space. Never a problem to reserve a spot. You tack down your tent and there’s no one around for meters, only a few naked senior citizens linger here or there at times. Pity about the overhead power line. The French manor house is totally run down, and the owners don’t seem to be planning any improvements. Although if you go out to the tennis court and begin to pick the weeds, the (toothless, elderly and clothed) owners are usually inspired to lend a hand. They did cover the pool though; now a fence runs around it and it’s padlocked until eleven am because it needs to be cleaned for hygienic reasons. On Saturdays they hold a little dance with the birdy music (you may come clothed to this event) and they serve a local wine, completely unpalatable. Oh and you can rent a caravan. The caravans are, in our experience, a little dusty. I broke out in hives after a half hour. The thing is that when they applied for the permit to establish a camping resort, the mayor insisted on granting the permit on the condition that it be a nudist camping resort.”
A downsized vacation that has it all.