There’s one small, very small, good thing about living in a place where, after the other occupant died, one
didn’t bother actively decided not to go through every single drawer and cupboard to clean out everything and get rid of everything one doesn’t think one needs.
Ferinstance, a few days ago, my mummy bought me a blender/smoothie maker so I can make the kind of genius milkshakes that Shaken Udder make. Shaken Udder or whatever their name is, go to festivals and such and they make milkshakes with chocolate bars. Ergo, Aero Milkshake, Milky Way Milkshake. I don’t know if other people do this, but I’ve never seen it before. I go out of my way at the festivals I attend to find them and then spend far too much money. At the Big Chill this summer I bought so many on the Sunday that they started talking to me and gave me one free. I was literally buying a milkshake every time I walked past, and I walked past many times on my working travels.
It turns out their secret is some ice cream in the mix, incidentally.
So today I decided to try making myself a Milky Way milkshake. I would’ve made an Aero one except… I ate the entire bar of Aero the other day before I had the chance. I got the ice cream, milk, Milky Ways and shoved them all in the new blender thing. Then once it was all blended up I wondered how best to drink this stuff. I wanted a straw but thought "Ah, I have no straws!" and didn’t much feel like getting dressed and going out into the freezing cold just to buy bloody straws.
Then I remembered something in the deep recesses of my memory. Whenever we came here when I was young, I would always want whatever I was drinking with a straw. This must have been a big enough deal that my granddad bought straws and kept them on the top shelf of the cupboard by the cooker. I knew that then, and being that I was very young, I loved the fact he had bendy straws instead of your basic straw. Children are very into straw technology, as I recall.
So, I thought ‘hey, let me check the cupboard’ and sure enough, there was an open bag of bloody straws. Bendy bloody straws, come to that. I have no idea how long they’ve been there. It’s where I keep the tea and coffee and sugar stored, so I have very little occasion to go to said shelf and it’s too high for me to see easily anyway. But there were my straws, just waiting for me. They might be the last remnants of the first lot of straws Granddad bought to pacify me when I was a child. Twenty year old straws. Perhaps I shouldn’t be using them, but I will.
If I’d gone through this flat with a fine-toothed comb a year and a half a go, I might have got rid of them. Maybe not, but you never know. Maybe the question was asked and I said to keep them, I don’t remember. But every so often, something happens and I realise that Granddad had already thought of it once, a long time ago.
As Lauren Bacall said of being widowed: "Don’t sell the house and don’t get engaged to Frank Sinatra". The moral of the story is: Don’t throw things away when you’re feeling upset or otherwise emotionally vulnerable. Don’t throw things away for the sake of it or because you think you probably won’t need them. Once a thing is thrown away, that’s it, but you can always get rid of things when you’re certain you don’t want or need them.