object lessons

2014-03-22 14.45.08 I tried to explain wabi sabi to someone on facebook and i got it wrong….I typed it as the acceptance of imperfection whereas from what I have been reading to the Japanese it is an appreciation of items displaying wear and tear and damage but as practised by American housewives,  imperfect items are actually sought out and purchased deliberately. Yeah…some of the blogs have pictures of rusty pails and ugly home thrown pots decorating counters of $20,000 kitchens….is it me? does that me anyone else throw up a little bit in their mouth?

It’s a mental state I have been trying to get into for a little while now….reason…once they cut that check, new house or no house..there will be six digits in my bank account…and that’s just bad on so many levels. I am almost willing to pay a resposible adult to deal with it for me, See? in the presence of money I lose all concept of relative value. One part of my brain wants to buy all new shit to go with the all new house, (yeah, it’s not like it’s a NEW new house is it?) and the other half of my brain, the one that does NOT have control over the debit card, knows that we are gonna need every red cent to get by afterwards.

I have lived such a frugal improverished lifestyle over the last what? 12 years you would think that i would have gotten over that urge by now. I mean i never did conquer the desire to buy something new to cheer myself up….all i ever managed to do was restrict that something NEW to be something old and usually cheap. So i discovered that my house has always been full of things that reek of wabi sabi-chic. The goal in the new place is not to be ‘full’ of anything, and to not feel the need to BUY something just for the sake of filling a void…a figurative or literal one. damn this got deep fast.

The saucer was an object lesson…. it cost me about $6 when i was researching household objects from the 1870s…transferware was the plastic of the time…and enamelware was their corelle…. it was cheap and plentiful and when it got broke you went to the general store and bought a replacement for a dime. I have owned a bit of it in the last 40 years, but i don’t own any now, so i bought the saucer to figure out if i wanted to buy it in quantity for dinnerware for the new house. (I have like 3 corelle dinner plates, so it’s not an unreasonable idea) The brown transferware saucer with the fishes performs the function of a saucer adequately, i have no complaints for my six bucks. However it did not come with the crack, that came from use over the last 6 weeks – to be fair, the saucer IS 130 years old, so it was unfair of me to expect it to do the job of a younger spry saucer.   Although it still holds my drippy teabag, and despite the decorative placement of the Wabi Sabi-esque crack, i know that one day, it will crack the rest of the way and fail, leaving me saucerless.  This object taught me two lessons, the first is that i am not comfortable at all with the idea of using cracked crockery….it bothers me on a viseral level, like insects and baby vomit and two…i may be able to buy this stuff but i can’t USE it as everyday dishes cause it’s too fucking expensive. I can’t run out and drop  30 bucks everytime someone drops a dinner plate that’s why i bought the damn corelle.


Eight months ago when i started all this moving shit, i knew i didn’t want a house full of antiques because they make demands. You have to use them in a certain way, and spread out the wear and tear and decide how much stuff you own is purely decorative. I live a life that cracks things, and i don’t make enough money to keep buying expensive replacements.  The house will be small, the decorative must also be useful, or its just collecting dust.  It won’t make any difference if a vase is worth beaucoups bucks because when i die, it’s going to the second hand store, just like all my other crap.   I have to fight the urge to splurge on new old crap, and be happy with my old old crap.  I thought that embracing an aesthetic that appreciates old crap was a good idea…and it is, in principle…the practice will be a little trickier.

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