Gone Suburban No. 5

Today I read in the New York Times magazine (from last year) about the year in ideas (again, that would be last year in ideas–we’re a little out of date in this household) that S-M-L (not to mention XS and XL) as sizes were going out of style. Tailored clothing is the way to go. According to the author of this little blurb, tailored clothing was once considered unAmerican (after all, who has time to get his suit fitted properly when waging a war to protect his precious bodily fluids from Communist infiltration?) But I guess the war on terror requires a more tailored look–guess it must help when hob-nobbing (uh, excuse me, negotiating) with all those oil barons.

Because we’re so behind the times here in the house that the S-M-L revolution forgot, I am only now just getting around to reading the most recent Harry Potter book. In the bit I just read, they’re trying to clean out a house:

Snape might refer to their work as ‘cleaning,’ but in Harry’s opinion they were really waging war on the house, which was putting up a very good fight, aided and abetted by Kreacher. The house-elf ekpt appearing wherever they were congregated, his muttering becoming more and more offensive as he attempted to remove anything he could from the rubbish sacks.

This sounds so exactly like my family’s attempts to deal with this house, in which the majority of my family plays the role of Harry & Co., and my grandmother plays the role of Kreacher. Ostensibly, my purpose here is to create order out of chaos (an honorable occupation, since I have no marketable skills and the economy sucks anyway). In theory, this would mean that vast quantities of things (slides of the Grand Canyon, more slides of the Grand Canyon, and several thousand other slides of similar things; pieces of things that no longer exist or are broken or generally unidentifiable, dusting and ripped garmet bags, business cards from several decades ago, tail ends of wallpaper that is no longer manufactured and no longer in the house, cords missing appliances and small appliances missing cords. . .). In practice, it means that I mostly move these things (after dusting both the thing and the space) from one place to another, under intense supervision. Occasionally, I am able to sneak something into the trash, but there is always the danger that I’ll be asked to retrieve it. Today I managed to throw away some cracked leather shoes (white low-heeled sandals, actually, although they were no longer exactly white) and some broken crayons. I was rather sad about the crayons, as they were old Crayola crayons, with the colors that aren’t made anymore. But one must be ruthless in this business, or one never gets anywhere.