151. Unlikely Antiquities

Unlikely Antiquities: Less than a month ago, we were scampering around the ancient remnants of Mexico’s Mayan civilization. Now we’re living with Amy’s father in Hicksville, NY (that’s Long Island to you). He’s a pack rat of medium intensity, which means that the garage is filled to capacity with things like non-functional vacuum cleaners and the basement is overflowing with spare food and old electrical gadgets, but the house itself is relatively neat and tidy. Except for the kitchen and dining room tables, which collect a year’s worth of junk mail that is purged only when Amy comes home for a visit. The ensuing battles of opinion, over which item is garbage and which item is not garbage, are epic, ugly and daily. In the end, 95% of the expired Cheerios coupons, outdated medicines and stale Pringles will be purged from the house, though not without great sacrifice on both sides. She may get to shred those old Outback coupons, but there’s no way he’s parting with an eight-year old box of Sunsweet prunes.

My only job is to stay clear of it all, neutral as Switzerland, quiet as a titmouse pinned beneath four decades of Life magazines, skulking around quietly in the background and using the distracted arguments as an opportunity to rummage through forgotten piles for things of interest to me. In two weeks, I’ve already rescued two nice pairs of wayfarer sunglasses, a hat that says “Hurricane Bob, Long Island ’91″ and a mint vintage copy of Gun Digest that is a short, chilling read. Beware the spoils of war.

 

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