Wherever He Prospers

As I peruse the Bed Bath & Beyond catalog that appears unsolicited in my mailbox periodically, I am filled with conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, I have since my first days in a freshman dorm placed a high priority on creating a gemütlich living space, and stores like Bed Bath & Beyond are valuable resources toward that end. On the other hand, I place a high priority on mobility, and accumulating lots of stuff does not auger well with this second sensibility, especially when some of the stuff is heavy or nailed to the wall. This conflict casts my thoughts back to Germany, where I was temporarily relieved of my desire to decorate for several reasons. First, I was on a limited income that was much better spent on other things. Second, I lived in three different places in the course of the year, so settling in seemed silly. Third, two of the three places I lived were already pretty well appointed. Fourth, I entertained few guests, so I worried little about how the condition of my various abodes reflected on me to others. And perhaps most importantly, knowing that anything I bought would either have to be sold or binned at the end of year (and carried from place to place in the interim) plucked the last petal from the decorative floral wreath of my desire.

Living for a year out of two suitcases has its limitations, but I find myself missing more and more the ability to steal quickly into the night without a trace. There is also an increasing disdain and distrust of the clutter with which I am surrounded and continue to buy. I can almost perceive roots sprouting from my desk and from my bed, digging deep, anchoring me in time and place, keeping me from making further steps.

Young people aren't supposed to have a lot of stuff. They should be able to flow like oil to the places where they are most valued. Bed Bath & Beyond shouldn't be able to send them marketing materials and gum everything up, keeping them from their homeland. There ought to be a law.