Building a Birthright
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Crash Pads


There it is. Between the carpet and the sleeping bag which is under the down blanket. I don't recall the brand and I want to say North Face but if that's true, North Face should be embarrassed although I see advertised, large square things with straps branded Black Diamond and I'm immediately reminded of the two young men running down from a 3 AM run on the Diamond. It was 2 PM toward the end of November and we hadn't reached the tundra yet. They ran with small packs, climbing gear, calories, and water. My brother called that wild look 'shattered'. Back at the parking lot, he had to remove the teeth from my boots because my fingers couldn't pull the rubber. This, he  said, is you, shattered. 

I'll have to ask him why he'd carry six to eight additional pounds on his back on a climb. That sort of weight wouldn't even make the first cut in the gear selection when I light out for the badlands where every ounce matters. Six pounds? 

The big square pads are for bouldering. Don't get me started.

I do have a crash pad and three weights of sleeping bag and two different tents. I've had the original crash pad way too many years, but it weighs ounces and most times I'm willing to strap it onto my pack if I'm not gone too long and don't need other things. I won't trade a pair of socks, but I thought about it once. I am clear that I need three pair of socks: one for my feet, one to wash and dry, and another for when I submerge my feet and mutter {fuck} down at the muck I didn't see coming. The self inflating crash pad, the one that weighs less than a pound, serves a single purpose; it's a layer of insulation between me and the ground. I am warmer and maybe the occasional bumpy bits aren't quite as bothersome. If I were willing to sleep exposed in a hammock, that would be better, but I'm not.

I have a six pound crash pad which is also older than dirt. So old the foam insulation has been compressed to a pancake. This is for car camping, on the ground or in the car. I do not strap it on my back because only water and then calories are allotted that much weight. 

It is also useful when every stick of furniture exits the premises five days ahead of you. 

I'm grateful. I can't take that furniture where I'm going and now it's got itself a good home along with the family china and any crystal that doesn't belong to Elizabeth. These are the last of the things from my old life; first purged at the end of 2018, again in 2020, and now this. Finally. Down to almost what I had when I left home at eighteen. Except the books. I did not leave home with fifteen cases of books. I had an armful. If that sort of thing doesn't teach you the value that most stuff is not, I don't know what will.

Doesn't make it any easier though, does it?

I am trying to sell some jewelry because I have been carrying it too long. It doesn't have a large footprint but the emotional baggage is astonishing. If it were of lesser value I might leave it behind; the final vestiges of a brutal marriage. But it is not without inherent value. I could sell it separately for the metals and stones, but I haven't the fortitude. I've taken it to a local jeweler instead and said, evaluate and make an offer. That was three weeks ago. I think they are afraid. I'm ready to tell them 10% of the purchase price for the lot and be done with it. I'm waiting to see if they'll come up with the 25% I'd expect. Sounds ridiculous, no? But it's not. On consignment, each piece would retail at market value. The jeweler and I would split the proceeds at time of sale. The jeweler will have invested no capital other that shelf space. That could take freaking forever. This stuff bought on spec is worth an average of 25% on the open market, providing the jeweler has the stomach to take it on. I want to tell him, shit, dude, break it down and sell that single perfect stone, yeah, that one there, and you're clean. But I can't. He has to do this himself.

I think the emeralds scare him. They should. If you don't know your emeralds you could end up with a handful of shards taking them out of the setting. I don't tell him that won't be the case - also something he has to do by himself.

Can you reconcile a box full of emeralds, diamonds, and pearls with the woman crashed in that nest on the floor? No? Me neither. You know what I did keep? I kept my dance shoes, all three pair of them. They don't weigh much in the physical world, but I'd drag them to Hades and back if I had to. Someday we will dance again. 

So that's it then. On the scale of desire there are three pair of beat up dance shoes opposite the plate with a pile of bright, shiny things. They don't balance, not at all but sometimes you have to look to be sure. This wasn't a thing that needed consideration. Which would you rather crash back on, a hard cold perfect diamond, or the keys to the dance?

And what, really, is the definition of a crash pad?

Shit. I sure do miss people.