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Carpet and Other Upheavals

Getting new carpet is a lot like moving. Inside your own house.

When we moved into this house eleven years ago the carpet needed replacing. But I’d given up a full time job to go back to graduate school and we were only doing the essentials. Carpet was not essential.

Besides that the house was immediately full. Of books and furniture and life.

The old saying that nature abhors a vacuum is a truism that our house displays every day. Any space we get cleared seems to fill up immediately with more stuff.

Somehow moving all the stuff around in the last few days (thank you to my dear husband for the lion’s share of that work) has had it’s own simultaneous chaos and liberation. With all the moving suddenly things appear that had been lost (the clock that used to sit in my daughter’s room showed up under the guest bed). Other things show up that have absolutely no purpose or have outlived their usefulness. My car trunk is full of that sort of stuff. Goodwill in the morning. And more trips to come.

This reminds me of my thinking sometimes. My mind is full to overflowing with ideas, feelings, plans, people, to do lists and not-to-do lists, conversations, finished and unfinished, dreads, desires, hopes and memories. Clear out one spot and it fills up with something else. I’m not sure what the mental equivalent of getting new carpet is, but it must be some sort of cognitive upheaval. Semesters’ end, writing deadlines, crashed websites, bad-news emails, they can all work this way. Pulling the carpet out from the mental order of your world.

On the more positive side of this metaphor, I know that when I’m feeling stuck or things are lost, sometimes just moving them all around is really useful. New ideas turn up and old ones can be discarded as no longer useful. Pile them up and haul them away.

Getting new carpet is a lot like moving. Only you don’t get a new house at the end of the deal. You still wake up in the same place the next morning, even though you went to nearly all the trouble of moving.

It’s a metaphor born of privilege, so I won’t roll it out any further. At least not tonight. Carpet goes in starting tomorrow.