How I Know There Are Sixty Drawers in My House

Wren on September 22nd, 2013

Drawers really add up. You look at a dresser and it has four drawers. You don’t think to do a room to room survey to find out how dressers and filing cabinets and desks and sideboards collaborate with the kitchen to really run up your drawer tally. You don’t go room to room, because, why would you?

Neither did I.

Then came today, when my partner and I had been out running errands with our dog, who loves being “on the away team.” When we got to our door and it opened without a key, we could plainly see we’d been burglarized.

The predominant visual was that every drawer was pulled out, some tossed on the floor, contents scattered.

Yes, we called 911 and followed instructions to leave the house and sit in our locked car until the police came. Three officers in three separate patrol cars arrived and blocked off our cul-de-sac. They circled the outside, then surveyed inside, guns drawn. They gave us the all clear and had us survey for missing items. We tried and tried, but we couldn’t come up with a single item that was missing.

Our possessions were so lame the police didn’t even give the complimentary lecture on how to make our home more secure. If I made enough to pay taxes, I might feel ripped off. I thought they always gave the lecture.

Now that I’ve given you the down and dirty on the deed, back to the interesting stuff about drawers. Room by room, I followed in the footsteps of my burglar, imagining what he or she thought while pulling out every single drawer in our file room.

Yes, in the drawer tally I have an unfair advantage because we have a file room. I have drawers and drawers of my writings, and C.T. has saved statistics and other information on every Food Not Bombs feeding, activist event, theatrical production, and consensus workshop he held—I mean feeding head counts, menus, promotional fliers, etc., and date books going back to 1983. We’ve been moving his archives from house to house, planning to write his memoirs.

What did our burglar think, opening a file drawer to find dog costumes, or pulling out my middle desk drawer to find little gemstone dinosaurs? Well, I like to think that I’m unique, interesting, even thought provoking. But this burglar was probably not moved. Nothing in these actions was about me.

Our neighbors were a flurry with updates and advice in the hours after our break in. It turns out a house in the opposite cul de sac was also broken into around the same time, and again, nothing taken. People theorized what the burglars might have been looking for—cash, illegal drugs, prescription drugs (oxy-anything), small electronics. Was it a gang initiation or training exercise?

We will almost certainly never know. And as our friend Ross, who owns the house, was here fixing the broken front door, I marveled that I really was not very upset. Acknowledging that events could have gone very badly, up to and including death, this was a mild event, a warning to be careful.

What struck me? Apart from reflecting that the event could have gone down in many different ways and those I care about might have been hurt (read: dog), I have fixated on the realization that, without the task of going from room to room closing drawers, I might never have noticed that there are sixty drawers in this house. What does it mean? It feels like just a poetic little factoid, maybe a message to scale down my possessions further, maybe a cute,  meaningless parallel in the year that C.T. is turning sixty years old. Maybe I am just pondering myself, hurling through 2013 in this little house on spaceship Earth, clinging to all the drawerspace I can maintain.

What am I storing? Clearly nothing a burglar wants.

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