In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing”
147. “Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future?”
A timely question, considering I moved into a new bedroom this week.
Minus a 20”x22”x30” Elfa drawer, a hundred hangers, and a full-sized mattress plus box spring, which were left behind, all of my belongings fit into my friend’s four-seater convertible. “You couldn’t fit another grain of rice,” he said. He was right. On my lap were the most important items, things I made sure would not be crushed, or were they to be crushed, at least crushed along with me.
In the trunk were Elfa railings and shelves I use to build my desk. Also in the trunk were two Barnes and Noble sized boxes of office supplies with bedroom trinkets and decorative items. In the boxes I packed my flag of Argentina, flag of Texas, and New Mexico flag; a big map of Europe, one of South East Asia, and one of South America. Also a few batiks from West Africa and the Far East. My record collection, the size of a two-finger pinch, includes Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, a compilation of Italian Indie Pop bands thrown at me at Fun Fun Fun fest 2012, along with some 7”ers: an MIA single, a Big Freedia single, and two EPs from Houston bands the Tontons and Kruangbin. My four mate gourds, a handful of pencils, a handful of markets, and a handful of pens. A pencil sharpener. My bedroom toiletries. My bathroom toiletries.
My books are divided into two libraries: the Houston Library, and the New York library. The New York library consisted of only one shelf of books when I first moved here last year. Among the first wave of books were el Quijote, Buk’s On Writing, 1001 Albums You Must Listen to Before You Die, Cortázar’s La vuelta al dia en ochenta mundos, Persepolis, and the Divine Comedy. (I’ve yet to read the Divine Comedy.) But slowly I’ve amassed other books, like Sigrid Nunez’s The Last of Her Kind, De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, and Aurelius’s Meditations. And more. My New York library of books and notebooks—now, still stuffed—fit into one large suitcase with the expanded zipper opened, one Eddie Bauer duffle bag, and one Timbuk2 backpack.
My clothes, divided between casual, formal, long-sleeve, short-sleeve, color pants, chinos, my one pair of jeans, a drawer full of socks, undies, scarfs, one paisley bandana, thick beanies, thin beanies, tees, belts and ties, all fit into two North Face duffle bags.
The list goes on.
This laptop I’m writing on made it, naturally. She’s the one thing I would save in a fire. Dell XPS studio, purchased in 2009, and has traveled with me to every bedroom I’ve ever inhabited—the Chaparral Village dorms in San Antonio, both the San Jac and the Jester dorms in Austin, our west campus apartment on 22nd ½ street, our house on 37th street, then back to my childhood bedroom in Houston for a year, upstate New York and later New Jersey for a summer, my grandmother’s apartment in Buenos Aires for nine months—with stops in la Patagonia, Mendoza, Iguazu—then my friend’s living room in Bushwick, another friend’s living room in Flatbush, then finally my own bedroom in Bushwick, and now June 2017, my laptop sits at a desk with a window facing west: my friend’s bedroom in Greenpoint, subletting for the month; this is the new bedroom. My laptop was most certainly on my lap in the convertible, along with my baby Aloe plant, and shoe box with old letters, sticky notes, and photographs.
Quaint, the things that surround me. They’re the belongings I plan on saving: whether for my next bedroom, or future home.