We pack away our lives in boxes. Compact compartments, sturdy cardboard cubes, worn and weary suitcases, they all bear the burden of our lives. Papers filed away in drawers, pictures carefully set into albums, clothes precisely folded and layered in dark closets, odd knick knacks carelessly tossed into open rim containers that are surreptitiously slid under the bed. Everything has its own place, its own little area, its own minute bit of space that gives it its sense of pursose, symbolises its existence. If you start to wonder, you’ll come to realise how amazing it is that we’ve come so adept at categorising our own existence and folding away the fabric of our own life. We know just what part of our life belongs in what box, and on what shelf, and we know all too well which ones should be left unopened, as if forgotten.
In our own minds, the situation is quite similar. Thoughts pop in and out of our heads all day long, some evoked, while others merely drift in from space, some we think twice about, others we merely disregard and forget. Or do we really? Often, ideas arise that we file away into the chest of drawers that forms up our brain, thinking it would be useful for some other time. Thoughts of people, events, and occurences, that hold no significance now but perhaps could later on also get stored there. The new cute ring-less guy at work, that hit rom-com coming out next month, the plasma TV on sale, all these are things that momentarily occupy our minds only to be tucked away into the folds of our brain to be summoned up again later. There’s also a set of drawers that belongs solely to memories. Tragic, joyous, heartbreaking or amusing, all memorable incidents of the past end up here. They rest there, most of them placidly in peace, others which haunt us and taunt us repeatedly, inducing regret or shame. They stay there evermore, and our poor hearts recall them in weak moments of vulnerability: the image of a chocolate bar during a rather strenuous workout, the feeling of an old lover’s arms during a lonely night, the memory of a fun family vacation on a stressful work day. All of these are memories with stay with us forever, even when we REALLY don’t want them to. They’re packed away neatly and precisely into the different drawers of our mind and when unleashed, they provide the comfort of constancy, the anchor that weighs us down when we feel we’re drifting too far from the shore.
Keys on the table, shoes under the stairs, coat across the back of the chair, bag on the floor slouched against the wall, clothes hung in the closet. Everything has become routine, mechanical, and all too mundane. We’ve become so robotically attune to performing the same acts over and over again every day, that we fail to realise how each little action has its own great significance. Take a doorknob, for example. We don’t think twice before twisting it to open the door; in fact, we dont even bother looking at it before reaching out for it. Yet, without turning it, it would be impossible for us to get over onto the other side of the door. Without a doorknob, all doors would be left unopened (unless you choose to break it down, but what a waste of time and energy that would be!) So how is it that we’ve come to disregard its existence so easily and so completely? Have you ever just actually looked at it to see if it was brass or platinum, smooth or lined, with a keyhole or without? All day, every day, it services us, we twist it without thinking, and it allows us to cross over onto what lies beyond it. Its existence has a real purpose and yet, we have stripped away its significance altogether, so callously that we haven’t even realised it. But then again, it’s JUST a doorknob.