I am in the midst of filing this year's FAFSA for I-guy's college funding and so, today, I am going through the little pieces of paper that are stuffed inside the shelves of my computer desk. Because of this, I know that I went to the eye doctor on Dec. 13th, ate Thai food on Jan. 26th, and bought books on Jan. 9th.
It is a bit like being an archeologist of my own life. But the only activities I have engaged in, which can be discovered this way, are the mere purchasing of things. Many of those days were otherwise unrecorded—skipped entries in my journal, blank squares on my paper calendar.
Where hunter-gatherers from long ago might have left behind spears and knives as evidence of their activities, I have only credit card receipts...tossed into a plastic bag, headed anonymously (I hope) to the dump.
The irony is that I don't even enjoy shopping all that much. I purchase what I need—whether groceries, hand lotion, or jeans—and then dash home, not lingering over all that I could potentially own. What did I do on the days that I didn't eat out, or buy food, or pay for eyeglasses? Those hours are unmarked, gone except in receding memory.
That is why artists create, seizing the moment and wrestling with what would have been silence, invisibility.