I’m not one of those people who walk around spewing theories all the time, but I do abide by this one: Rat packers marry minimalists. Let me pause to cough up an example of someone who qualifies as a rat packer. Hm. Okay. Pause over. My husband Randy. He’s by no means a hoarder. We’d have never gotten past the first seduction if he had piles of empty peanut butter jars and stacks of broken suitcases in his living room. We wouldn’t have gotten past the living room. But the dear man is sentimental. If you sent him a card for his 6th birthday he still has it. Those Boy Scout badges? (only two away from Eagle when he suddenly decided the Boy Scouts were no longer cool.) Well, he’s got those too. Oh – and all you ex-hippie girlfriends whom he photographed au natural…your pictures are in a shoebox on the top shelf of his closet.
When we were packing up his belongings to move from Randy’s divorced guy bachelor pad (if you didn’t count the kids’ toys) to the apartment where we’d be starting our married life together, I unearthed a veritable history of Randyland. Clay projects. Make Peace Not War t-shirts. “Why do you still have your 7th grade term paper on Mesopotamia and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon?” I asked. “I got an A,” he said. “Didn’t you get lots of A’s in school?” I asked. “You went to Harvard.” “I like that paper,” he said. “It’s a good paper.” I read it and it is a good paper and if you ever have questions about those hanging gardens, feel free to get in touch.
But me? I don’t even have prom pictures because I broke up with my prom date. I don’t have my report cards. No 8th grade graduation programs. (like some people.) I’m always one wave of the hand away from hailing a taxi and moving on. Which leaves more room in our closets for naked hippie girlfriend photos. Randy and I have made our compromises. He thinks twice before saving cards from third cousins. I’ve learned to love his Peter Max Bob Dylan record album cover. Do I want it tucked away and out of eyesight? Preferably, yes. But it’s nice to know that of all those naked girlfriends who probably listened to that album with Randy, I’m the one who gets to grow old with him. And his stuff.