Sunday, September 12, 2004


Procrastination works this way: Things stay on the to-do list until a more odious task (usually one with a firm deadline) makes it to the top of the heap. As the deadline looms, the more hateful thing grows in importance, and suddenly it is imperative that the kitchen floor is mopped, the tub is scrubbed, receipts are filed, the bio is redone, the litter box refilled and the pile on the dining room table is downsized. That’s how things get done around my house anyway.... So on Saturday instead of installing Final Draft and working on the screenplay (due in six days) I tackled the bedroom closet, pulling a giant box’s worth of beloved outfits off the hangers, including vintage items and pieces that had belonged to my forebears. (I’ve been reading “How to Conquer Clutter” by Stephanie Culp-- very dangerous-- and now feel less obligated to hold on to other people’s “stuff,” especially since I’ve finally stopped having the dream where my mom comes back from the dead and asks what happened to all of her belongings).

Some excuses Culp blows out of the water:

“I might need it someday”
“There’s an article I have to read in that”
“It will be worth money someday”
“It will come back in style if I wait long enough”
“It was a gift”
“I paid good money for it’
“As soon as I lose 20 pounds, I’ll be able to wear it again”
“It’s still perfectly good”
“It doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to _____” (Apparently you’re supposed to tell them to come and get it, not sell it on eBay or dump it in the alley)
“I inherited it”
“It just need to be fixed and it will be good as new”
“They don’t make things like that anymore”
“I’m saving it for____”
“It would cost a fortune to replace”
“It brings back memories”

So once you’ve filled the giant box you must bring it immediately to the Brown E., which closes at 6. If you don’t, you’ll end up going through everything again and keeping half of it. Or worse; I’ve had such strong second thoughts that I’ve actually gone back to the Brown E. and tried to buy my stuff back (unfortunately it had already been sold -- or snapped up by some discerning employee).

Impervious to the in-progress Cubs game -- a biplane trailing a banner is a dead giveaway -- I toted the stuff over there at 5:20 (beating my usual record of 5:55). As I was trying to see over the top of the box and negotiate the front door a nice woman started to open it for me...and then barked, “IS THAT GARAGE SALE JUNK? WE DON’T WANT GARAGE SALE STUFF! WE DON’T HAVE ROOM FOR IT,” and started peering into it. “Hell no,” I said (read the following in a Fat Albert voice). “This is my good junk! Good junk that I’ve had for years and couldn’t part with until I read ‘How to Conquer Clutter!’ And a lot of it is vintage” [including the faded Tin-Tin Levi’s jacket I painted in the mid-1980’s when I had a mohawk, and which landed me a gig doing animation for a local filmmaker a few years later]. The gargoyle let me in; I pulled out a brand-new skirt with the original price tag on it to show her I was in fact telling the truth, and eventually she thanked me. Meanwhile I was filling out the donation form when her bald cohort two feet away launched into a very loud diatribe about people coming at the last minute. “WHAT DO THEY DO ALL DAY?” he bitched. “DO THEY LOOK AT THEIR WATCHES AT 5:30 AND SAY, ‘OH, LET’S GO TO THE BROWN E?’” Having practiced in the AM and napped in the PM I kept my mouth shut and showed them what that door was for.

(This is becoming like the new Spy list.....well, not really):

Liz Phair - “Exile in Guyville”

99.9 FM (“We Play Anything”) Radio, where ELO’s “Turn to Stone” was followed by Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke."

Soundtracks for “Main Hoon Na” and “Kal Ho Naa Ho” (the latter includes an excruciating full-on Bollywood cover of “Pretty Woman”)

More Pandoras!

Deleted scenes from “High Fidelity”

”La Dolce Vita”

Veggie Booty (Ten for $10 at Jewel)

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