Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NABB Street Fair

On Saturday morning, we went to the annual street fair sponsored by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. I look forward to it every September; I've gotten some deals.

The NABB fair on Dartmouth Street

This year, I felt less enthusiasm about going. While we were on vacation in Maine, we went to a number of antique shops in different towns, and I finally "overdosed" on junk. I walked into one shop and had to leave within seconds. I felt stuffed, but it had nothing to do with food. It felt mildly  nauseating and suffocating to be surrounded by so many old family photos, toys, books, musty wedding gowns, and beat-up housewares, everything left behind by the people to whom they once meant the most. It made me sad to think about time passing and lives ending. It made me think about what will happen to our stuff when we're gone. (I have no idea, but my goal is to have a whole lot less stuff by the time we are statistically much closer to that inevitability.) 

It made me want to go home and throw out some junk. We are not hoarders and our place doesn't seem cluttered, except with books. You might think we couldn't have much stuff in 800 square feet of living space but we have enough to make cabinets, closets, and drawers feel too full. 

Doorknobs, courtroom transcription machine, chamber pot. No thanks.

For more than a month now, I've been talking about getting rid of 100 books as a beginning decluttering exercise. It's time to get out the ladder and get to it. I did a similar book purge a few years ago, and so I expect it will be more difficult this time. But it's necessary; I have nowhere to put books that arrive as gifts, and I haven't been able to bring myself to buy a book in months. 

Writing about it here means I'm committing to it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. After that, it will be time to tackle the rest of the apartment, including clothes and papers, my two biggest problems after books when it comes to downsizing. 

My obligatory photo of a basket of someone's former beloved playmates

Even though September is the best time for antiquing, we skipped going to the Brimfield Antiques Fair, which was also held last weekend. Normally, I love wandering around, eating unwholesome food, buying things I think I can't live without, and taking photos of surrealist vignettes. This time, I couldn't bear the thought of all that stuff.

The NABB Street Fair was small enough that I was able to be there long enough to see everything. I confess I even bought something. I seem to be collecting little spheres. I have slowly accumulated about a half-dozen, mostly in glass. At the fair, I fell for a 2" stone sphere, in dark blue with marbly veins of copper and red, that its dealer told me had belonged to an old spiritualist who'd died recently. He said he picked up all kinds of weird stuff from the estate for a song, including the guy's large supply of weed. I said I didn't need any weed but I bought the sphere for $5. So far it doesn't have magical powers, but that's okay. My husband pointed out that it will make a terrific noise when the cats roll it off of whatever surface I put it on. But it was too late.

And you can never have too many cat toys.


  1. I think maybe the universe or the powers that be or what/who ever is waiting for you to purge the extras from your life before it lets you move on and shows you the perfect house to move into.

  2. From your lips to the ears of the powers that be!

    The universe does keep showing us homeless cats it wants us to adopt or foster, but we can't help until we have more room.


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