Lately it seems that the things I need, my essential personal belongings, are always somewhere I'm not. There is a song by Tom Waits called Big in Japan which helps to explain my current situation. In his gravely, croaking-like-a-toad voice, Waits sings, "I've got the sheets, not the bed, got the jam not the bread."
I feel his pain while trying to keep tabs on my own belongings scattered between my apartment, my office, and my girlfriend's place. As you may already know my laptop and camera are always attached, ever ready to bring me down for the count, but it's hard to keep up with the little things.
Food is a major problem during the week. For instance, cooking dinner with my girlfriend can become complicated when we realize the perfect dinner could be concocted if only we had the sour cream, parmesan cheese, or rubbed sage spices from my fridge. Inevitably when we are at my place for dinner we are missing the other half of a complete recipe. Next time we're at the grocery store we need to get two sets of every item so our fridges can cool a harmonious supply of edibles.
I thought dinning out might be a fine solution until I had to buy a shirt at TJ Max to wear at a nice restaurant because I could not go home in time to get properly dressed after work. So that costs more money and time but I do rather like the shirt.
The list goes on to smaller, wicked little devices like cell phone chargers that can ruin your whole day if you don't have them with you. The moment my cell dies while I'm on assignment, that's when everyone will try to call me with breaking news. One little technological gadget fails me and it's the end of the world. Have we only rolled downhill since the invention of the wheel?
I can take my sister's approach and keep what her husband calls a "travelin' pile" in the car with me at all times. It's kind of a mound of clothes, compact discs, toiletries and other things one might need on a daily basis. But I don't do piles, I much prefer stacks of things, especially stacks of paper. Never a pile. I might be a bit of an obsessive-compulsive hoarder of papers and things I think I'll need, but I keep papers organized, not as some kind of quagmire covering the floor.
Perhaps the solution is turning myself into a cyborg, like Robocop, so I can function on a "rudimentary paste which sustains my organic system." I would become "product," switched on and off like a light. Now that doesn't sound like too much fun either, and I will remind you of my previous question about the wheel. It may be hard to get a meal together on a weeknight but at least we can sit down together and enjoy it. At least I still have my sense of smell and taste. At least I'm still human.
It makes me wonder though, what it might feel like to go out and actually slaughter the cow, ring the chicken's neck and so forth, bringing my kills back to the cave for roasting on the fire while the kids draw stick figures on the walls of our windowless home? Subconsciously I think beef and chicken meat are grown "as is" at the grocery store. But I'm getting terribly off course as usual. What I want to say is keep organized. Keep the papers at bay! Delete all that junk email from your inbox! Limit your choices for small decisions so you don't get bogged down in frivolous matters. Be decisive, because the more options they sell to us, the harder life becomes. Surfing through the noise, I remain.
Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.