If my mother were a super-hero, she would be the “Anti-Hoarder”. Clutter is her kryptonite, and she will do anything in her power to destroy it.
Facilitated by an arsenal of unlimited stamina, enthusiasm, and adeptness with the use of a shredder, she has single-handedly annexed each room in our house of clutter, one by one, kicking ass and taking names as she went. One room, however, has remained immune to her pursuits:
my childhood bedroom.
To the naked eye, all appeared to be tidy and in perfect order. But behind the freshly windexed mirrored closet doors and gleaming white desk lurked a dirty little secret: clutter. And lots of it.
In a display of what can only be considered sheer willpower, and saint-like patience, she turned a blind eye to this for years. But finally, this summer, she decided that enough was enough- before I left for Toronto for good, my room was going to be cleaned out.
I avoided this chore like the plague for my entire 2 month stint at home, until the very last week when her relentless nagging finally won out. I was given empty boxes in which to discard unwanted items, and slowly I began the exercise of throwing away old undergraduate textbooks; dried flowers given to me by high school boyfriends;and intricately folded notes from junior high filled with acronyms I no longer understood.
The time it took to complete this exercise was multiplied by two, as my mother insisted on going through every.single.item to be discarded in search of anything with my name on it (alternate superhero name: “The Identity Theft Avenger“) or potential “treasures”- usually of the academic variety. “Don’t you want to keep this paper- “The Cause and Consequences of the Great Depression“?? She asked. “Why? In case I need a bit of an uplifting read later?” I retorted. Ignoring my smart-ass comment, she silently moved it to the “keep” pile, and continued: “Well, surely you want this grade 7 science paper you wrote on Avalanches…you got 100 on it!”
Finally, I thought I had made my way through my whole closet, when I discovered, lurking in the back corner, something pink, frayed and crumpled. I pushed back the layers of taffeta from prom dresses past to get a closer look. It was my grade 11 school bag. Like a time capsule, perfectly preserved, it must have been thrown there on the last day of school, only to remain undisturbed for the next 8 years, quietly housing all of my 17-year-old belongings.
I paused for a moment before opening it up to inspect its contents. This summer had already been a bit of a journey of self-discovery for me – was I really ready to hop into this school-bag shaped DeLorean and take a trip back in time to visit my 17-year old self?
What do I have to lose? I thought, taking a deep breath as I unzipped the main compartment. The first thing that fell out was an over-stuffed CD case, spilling a collection of three different disks at my feet. Oh god, I thought. This is going to be embarassing:
Well thats…. random. Apparently in my struggle for teenage relevance, I was attempting to be a lot of things. “Cool” just didn’t happen to be one of them.
Next I stumbled across my high school agenda:
Aaah the agenda. Every high schooler’s pride and joy. I proudly eschewed what I felt was the juvenile trend of having people sign the front page of your agenda; and instead prided myself on keeping meticulous and detailed notes of my weekly activities (and apparently when everyone I had ever met’s “B-Day!!!” was).
Other items of interest found within this little treasure chest included:
- One Set of Julius Caesar playing cards:
One full package of Dentyne Ice Intense flavour:
One math set with missing protractor, mini pencil, and eraser (so in other words, one useless math set.. did anyone ever really know what the rest of this shit was for, anyway??)
One Regal fundraising order form, completed by my mother; never submitted by me:
[Side note- any guesses as to what happened to the $90.73? I’d pat myself on the back for having pocketed it; only I know I would have been way too lame to ever do such a thing].
Having reached the bottom of this pit of wonders, I felt a little disappointed that my trip down memory lane didn’t provide me with some more concrete insight as to who I really “was” at 17. Looking at all of these previously treasured items, the only consistent adjective I could come up with to tie it all together was: “Random”.
Hm. Maybe my 17-year-old self and my 25-year-old self have more in common than I thought.
Question of the Day: What do you think you would find in your old high school backpack?