Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parting Company




The den is a mess. It's usually disordered, and mostly messy, but now it is in total chaos. The place is a jumble of boxes, paper, tape, and bubble wrap. You have to climb in to get to the computer. This will last throughout the month of April. By the end of the first week in May, it will all be over, and my collection of Japanese die-cast robot toys will be scattered to the far corners of the globe. The old toys will have new owners. I'll have enough money to replace our crummy old cars with newer, somewhat less crummy used cars. Maybe have a few bucks in the savings account. We'll see.

I made the decision some months back. It was time to let the collection go.

It's kind of odd. I have all sorts of reasons to get nostalgic about this. I gathered the robot toys in the old collection during a wild, and eventful season of my life- first true love and serious relationship, friendships broken, trusts betrayed, fights, broken windows, lots and lots of booze, and dope.
And then the restless years- over a decade of not staying in one place for more than a few months. Apartment after apartment- the shelf going up in the living room, the collection taken out piece by piece, dusted off, and put on display.
This is it. I'm settled here. I'm done with moving...
And a few months later the room would again be full of boxes. The same boxes that held the collection after the first move. The same boxes from the Jr. High school where I worked back in the seventies. The box that held the Sony amplifier that I bought in seventy six. Those same boxes are empty now for the last time- piled on the back porch to go out with Wednesdays trash. The thirty year old robots are, one by one, being nested in crumpled newspaper, and secured in new Fed-Ex cartons, waiting to be shipped, same day delivery, to who knows where.

Like I said it's kind of odd that I don't have any sense of nostalgia over doing this. It occurred to me last night as I packed up the large, gift-box sets that will be the first to go up for sale- this is the last time I'm going to look at these things. I'll never see them again except in the pictures that are on my hard drive, or posted here on the wfb. Just like I'll never see Diane again. Diane was my first real girlfriend, the first true love in my life, and the one who gave me the silly talking Robocon that started my whole fascination with Japanese toys. Diane went on to marry well, and raise a family. She died this last year from cancer leaving behind a husband and two kids. The guy who was my closest friend back then called to let me know. I doubt I'll see, or hear from him again, and I do not care if I don't.
Anyway.
I packed up box after box last night, and it was a chore that needed to be done and nothing more. Wednesday I'll have to get out of bed at midnight to open bidding on the first, and most sought after item. That's going to be a pain. The auction will have bidders from all over the world. The best way I could come up with to ensure that people in Europe, Asia, and the Philippines all have a clear idea of when bidding opens and closes is to start the sales at midnight, and keep bidding open for a twenty four hour window. I'll survive.

Again though, what strikes me here is that I don't seem to have any palpable connection to the toys any longer. When I first bought them, each one was just a delight. For years I took great pleasure in setting up the shelves, working the transformations on the various robots, then periodically re-arranging the shelves. And when I brought the collection out of mothballs almost ten years ago that sense of delight was reawakened in me. I found Robot-Japan, the collectors' forum, on the internet, and learned for the first time, that there were thousands of people all over the world who, like myself, were just crazy over these things. I made friends on line, traded notes with people from all over the planet. It was a lot of fun.
And now it's just over- closing the door on one of the last tangible artifacts from a life I once lived, and a person I once was. It is a disturbingly easy thing to do. I'll be glad when it's all done.

JWM

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