I didn’t have all this stuff when I was young and single. None of us did. It was a big deal to have blinds and coffee mugs. Many of the guys I knew didn’t; they’d tack a sheet over the bedroom window, drink from Styrofoam. My first apartment was pretty typical; I had a small uncomfortable sleeper sofa, a bentwood rocker, a coffee table that was actually a trunk—didn’t everyone in 1976?—and a set of bookshelves.
In the bedroom I had a chest of drawers and a desk that was too low for an adult, at which I would hunch over my old manual Smith Corona typewriter, my knees contorted beneath. I had swapped the twin bed of my girlhood for a double bed, which some children nowadays, raised on queen-size beds, can scarcely imagine. I was proud of that double bed. Many of my friends had futons. But then we got married and we got carafes, chafing dishes, and china. We bought matching love seats for the living room. The acquisition of stuff began. One day I peered inside my closet and realized it looked like it belonged to a woman with multiple personality disorder. The bohemian look, the sharp suits, the frilly dresses. Those days are behind me, and I finally know whom I’m dressing: a person who has 18 pairs of black pants.