Saturday, November 3, 2012

Common Objects: the box

I have a box fetish

Not like I get all hot and bothered about boxes, (I know, I know) but I have a hard time throwing them out. One of my boxes is 35 years old. I used to have a box that had been around from a time before I was born.

I came by this craving honestly. My mother collected packing boxes. (Am I imagining it, or did she line a sweater box with wrapping paper from her wedding?)

The best were the citrus boxes we received from my Grandmother in Florida every Christmas. (There so many others of mom’s I could mention. Perhaps her blog fans will ask her to write about them soon. [Contact betsy.dole @] ) My mother gave me one of them recently, filled with my mildewed, ruined doll collection. Even I could see that the whole mess should go straight out into the garbage. The 30 year-old box included.

I have had to teach myself to throw away boxes. I’d be a box hoarder if I could, filling my basement with empty boxes that I just might need to send someone something someday.

I only allow myself to keep (er… hoard) boxes that are smaller than a greeting card box.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by boxes. Everything seems to come with a really cool one these days. We even have unboxing ritual videos for the holy god technology. We can watch Him revealing Himself to us over and over.

And shoe boxes! No one will think I’m odd for saving the fancy shoe box after the shoe is gone, will they? Even if I am paying $5 extra for the box those shoes come in, it’s worth it! Now that my kids are in the big growing feet stage, however, I had a tower of boxes that went out to recycling pastures not so long ago. Out they must go!

We don’t send things to people like we used to. Shipping has become so expensive that I am inclined to directly ship a gift purchased at Amazon. No need for a special box. No standing in a USPS queue for ages after Thanksgiving. So that special box sits in my closet waiting for me to send something.

Years pass. Dust collects.

And I wind up with a drawer full of items like Today’s. It is only loosely categorized as a box, even by me. Would you call a SLR lens covers a box? No, I thought not.

That said, I love the deep black of this lens box. How it stands unique from all other boxes, incomplete until filled with the items it is intended for. To me it holds potential -- empty space. (A bit like the sound of one hand clapping.)

My first serious camera was manual SLR. I loved it’s streamlined, modern design. I still love reading the typography of the name, Olympus. And perhaps that’s why I save the box (and the camera) long after I stopped buying film for good.

Why don’t I keep this box with my camera? Because it belongs in my box drawer. Yep, you heard me right. I have a drawer of my desk dedicated just for precious boxes.

Seems these days everyone hoards (er…collects) something.  What’s your fetish?

Today’s #NaBloPoMo entry is the first installment of series, “Common Objects I Found Cleaning out My Desk.”