Sunday, August 09, 2015

Like A Bag Full of Cats

—Anonymous Photo

He felt bullied by his possessions. One needed fixing, another to be returned to its shelf. One needed reassembling, another taken apart. Each had demands that must be met to keep it working. These gadgets meant to enrich his life—in their mass they came to control him so that instead of being added to, he felt decreased. In bed at night, he could hear them whisper: Repair me, make use of me, plug me in—until he felt their loathing as he passed through his rooms. They had expected a superior home and he failed to win their respect. In time he began to spend longer and longer periods in the backyard, avoiding his house altogether, which seemed to shudder and jerk like a bag full of cats. These things he owned, wasn’t he now the possession of his possessions, their knickknack or novelty, as if he had been changed into one of those door prizes handed out at awful parties, a grimacing, plaster statuette, displayed on the mantel for a few weeks before being banished to the attic?

—Stephen Dobyns