The Weight of My Loneliness
Remember when my living room looked like this? Cozy, comforting, warm, functional, and tidy. Not bad at all.
It doesn’t look anything like that anymore.
It’s a mess, man. A complete disaster. It’s even worse than that time my audio buddies came over and moved everything around while I was in the kitchen flirting with a girl. Much worse. You see, I realized I had a problem when the amount of vinyl on the floor began to rival the amount of vinyl on the shelves. The place couldn’t hold. Something had to give. Then I heard from a friend that Ikea had lowered the prices of their Expedit “bookcases.” They call them “bookcases,” but they’re obviously made for records. They’re exceptionally heavy and sturdy and measure beautifully at 59” H by 31” W by 15” D. You see? Perfect for records. They come in other sizes, too. Prices for Ikea’s Expedit bookcases have dropped by $20, and they were cheap to begin with. Being pragmatic, I bought two. Total cost was $140. Each bookcase has eight shelves and each shelf holds up to 50 LPs. More if you want to get crazy. At the new low price of $70, you’re paying less than $0.18 per LP. Compare that to what I paid for my Gothic Cabinet LP rack, which is already bowing under the weight of my loneliness.
The weight of my whatliness? Oh, yeah: My loneliness.
I fill my loneliness with vinyl LPs. And, apparently, my loneliness is vast and unending.
Sometimes you don't realize how thirsty you are until you've had a sip of water. I don’t want to talk about it. I was psyched about my new LP racks, though. I figured they’d change my life. Getting the vinyl off the floor would, if nothing else, free up space for more vinyl. Omar and I put the things together on Sunday afternoon. With two people, it was easy. Had I been alone, shit would have been next to impossible. Funny how life is like that. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about it. It soon became apparent that my idea to orient the bookcases vertically, side-by-side, was, if nothing else, completely dumb. The Expedit bookcases have large footprints and heavy lines with thick top and sidewalls, and, though their overall proportions are very friendly, they nevertheless overwhelmed my small living room.
And have I ever told you about how my apartment is falling apart? There are massive cracks near the joints of every doorway and the floors are breaking up with the walls and the windows are just calling the whole thing off. Attempting to place my new bookcases side-by-side really drove this home. There was nothing side-by-side about it. Together, the bookcases looked more like a teepee or a Christmas tree or a slice of pizza or a pyramid. You know: The space between them made a nice, big triangle. No way in the world would I be able to leave them like that. The sight of it offended my senses of rightness and balance. I would have to orient them horizontally.
Orienting them horizontally caused a whole other set of problems. I don’t want to talk about it. Anyway, I’ve got one bookcase along the eastern wall, in front of the windows. I’ve got the other bookcase along the right wall. The equipment rack is now in my bedroom. The equipment is now on top of the bookcase that sits along the right wall. LPs are on the shelves beneath the equipment. Books are in the bookcase that sits in front of the windows. Compact discs are all over the stupid place. The orange couch has been moved eight inches to the left. Artwork, postcards, candles, and other assorted tchotchke need to be completely reconsidered. Everything has to change. The place is a mess. The sound? I haven’t had time to even think about the sound. And I don’t understand how I could have lost so much living space by cleaning things up. It’s not right. It’s not natural.
This is the second time (in almost exactly a year) that I’ve had to completely reorganize my life in order to make room for my records. John Atkinson and I like to joke that women, though wonderful and completely irresistible, truly want just one thing: To move your furniture around. Apparently, LPs are the same way.
Some good will come of this, even if I have to fake it. One thing I realized is that the number of records I own but have never listened to is at least equal to, and perhaps even greater than, the number of records I own and have played at least once. I own records that I’ve never even heard of. I bet some of them are good. Why do I spend so much time and money shopping for records when I’ve got an entire record store in the mess of my living room? The other thing I realized is that I have too much shit. I need to stop the madness. I need to start filling my loneliness with activities that cost nothing, like catching up with friends and playing guitar and reading books and listening to records. Somewhere, under all the dust and disorder, I might even find some old, lost part of myself.