Although it’s been years since I’ve actually gone out to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day, this could be the first one in my adult life I haven’t even had one pint of Guinness. Erin Go Bragh, the Sober Edition. If I listen hard enough, I can hear a leprechaun laughing at me.
Along with no beer, there aren’t any pots of gold to be found in my apartment either. But what I do have is thirty-three things I’m getting rid of for the Minimalism Game. Clutter comes in all shapes and sizes, and for Days 16 & 17 I’m going small.
I’ve chosen seventeen plastic cards and sixteen pens to expel from my home. Not quite as exciting as giving up a TV or even an object twinged with nostalgia, but still as important. Just because I can hold all of these items in one hand, doesn’t mean I should keep them.
I actually think something as simple as a collection of pens works as a good microcosm as to why I want to live a more minimalist lifestyle. On my desk I have an orange Café Du Monde coffee tin stuffed with all sorts of writing utensils. After I took sixteen pens, there was still twenty-one left.
Did I really need thirty-seven pens to be within my reach? I bet if I hunted around the apartment I could probably find at least a dozen more. Why keep so many pens, especially when I do most of my writing on a laptop?
Maybe I’m being a bit too philosophical (or possibly this is a side effect of not drinking for seventeen days), but if I want to free the clutter from my life how can I justify having so many pens? Last I checked, I can only use one at a time. I also don’t need thirty-six replacements if the one I’m using runs out of ink. So this gluttonous excess of pens will be going with me to work tomorrow, where I know they will eventually be used by someone.
For Day Seventeen I went into my desk drawer and found a bunch of hotel key cards, along with some Casino Player’s Club ones. I cannot give a logical reason why I’ve kept these, as for the most part there aren’t strong memories attached. All I can say is that it goes to my souvenir mentality.
When I travel, I’ve always taken the Ryan Bingham approach to packing. I go lightly and avoid checking a bag at all costs. My carry-on (and small personal bag) holds the essentials, and is efficiently stuffed to every inch of space. It makes traveling easier, but it does curtail your shopping habits.
Therefore, my souvenirs have tended to be smaller knickknacks that I pick along the trip. Maybe it’s a coaster from a cool bar, or a small book that I could only find locally, possibly postcards, or quite often (as I described in a previous post) t-shirts. Then there’s the hotel collateral, anything from pens and stationary to do not disturb hangers to the wrappers on the turndown mints after I’ve shoved the chocolate in my face. If it’s got a logo on it or says the name of the place I’m visiting, it’s going in the bag.
In the case of the hotel keys, I would say most of the time it’s actually accidental. The cards end up in my wallet or pants pocket, and it isn’t until I’m back home that I realize I still have them. However, for some of the real special places I’ve been, I will intentionally keep them.
The seventeen hotel key/casino players club cards are from the last three or so years and come from Hawaii, San Francisco, Boston, and Las Vegas. While all of the trips/stays have great memories attached, the St. Regis Princeville and the Royal Hawaiian are the only two I’m sure I’ve kept on purpose. But when I look at those key cards again, they actually rate low on the keep-ability factor. The St. Regis one just has the logo and doesn’t list the name of the property, and the key for the Royal Hawaiian simply just says Luxury Collection. Too generic to be true keepsakes.
As I continue along in the month, I know there are plenty more of these pseudo souvenirs in my collection that I can set free. Maybe the leprechaun will want them.
Novelist and screenwriter with degrees from Boston University and Emerson College who lives in Hawaii. Aloha and mahalo in advance for reading my work! You can order a copy of my new novel here! https://www.inkshares.com/books/lost-in-the-fog