Warehouse of lost stuff

jest1221365735In David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, the main character has an attack of existential dread where he envisions a giant room containing all the food he will ever eat in his life (it’s basically a visualization of the fact that we’re all organic, decaying, mortal creatures on this earth, etc etc.)

I prefer a breezier version of this idea. I think each of us is haunted by the memory of a prized possession that we somehow lost or even gave away in moment of crazed misjudgment. My list includes, among other things, a few choice and irreplaceable cassette tapes (tapes always seemed expressly designed to break your heart by either getting lost or getting eaten) and several items of clothing, some old drawings, a few vinyls, and so forth. I like the idea of a giant warehouse that contains everything you’ve ever lost or regrettably given away. You have 30 minutes to root through the warehouse and take with you anything you can find. But, the challenge lies in rooting out the prized possessions from all the piles of random junk that you didn’t care about then and don’t care about now. The most pernicious thing would be the temptation to yield to distraction– imagine all the crazy random mementos you would stumble on, and how hard it would be to keep focused on your laundry list of a few prized items that you’re intent on finding.

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