Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Cautionary Tale of Baubles

When I graduated college it was a real step toward becoming a bona fide adult. The last step, in my youthful mind, was to stock up on Anthropologie home goods. I didn't precisely have a home of my own at the time, and had admittedly taken a step backwards, moving home with my parents, so physical objects of my impending, glorious adulthood felt essential.

Allow me to be clear on this: Anthropologie is not affordable, not for someone with a steady job, and especially not for a recent college grad. So, rather than spend $200 on a polyester tea-length skirt, I was relegated to the housewares sale bins, where I stocked up on such essentials as: crystal doorknobs, hand-painted armoir handles (despite the fact that I have never in my life owned an armoire), and frilly lamp shades. With every purchase I imagined my future rustic cottage - in which I would bake muffins in artfully decorated porcelain pans, bedecked in my organic cotton hand-dyed apron - was one step closer.

Of course, my rustic cottage would be in Italy or France, somewhere romantic. I would have a canopy bed, window shutters swung open to let in the cool evening breeze and bird songs, and creaky furniture surrounded by books. I would spend late mornings drinking caffe americano, so as not to forget my roots, strolling cobbled streets with a camera around my neck, and would retire home in the evenings, to cook my muffins and read great literature.

This is what Anthropologie does to me, ever since I first witnessed their online catalog on my e-machine, as a freshman in college. Essentially, this store succeeds where Disney failed: it turns me into Snow frikkin' White.

A dreamer I have always been. I find freedom in my fantastical thoughts and don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with reveries, but allow me to elucidate why this should be viewed as a cautionary tale. I have not once used those crystal doorknobs and believe they are likely still packed away in my parent's garage, along with the frilly lamp shades. The hand-painted armoire handles have all been lost, but for one, which sits accusingly in my nightstand, still in its original packaging. A reminder that Adulthood does not arrive with an Italian village and rustic furniture, but with a credit card bill. Adulthood alights quietly with age. It's insidious like that.

So buy yourself a bauble and then wait to see if you actually use it. If so, get another, if you're still so inclined. If not, keep the bauble somewhere safe and when you take notice of it - tucked away in your nightstand - in the future, thank Adulthood for granting you a little monetary responsibility. If you'd like, you can also thank me. I accept donations in the form of hand-painted tea towels and bird themed wall paper.

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