As I sat in the red limo, my mind wandered and a question cropped up “what would I save from my house if it was on fire”. This is excluding my family, of course as I refuse to contemplate anything but their safety – even in my hypothetical musings. I took a mental inventory of my possessions as I sat in the bus, but I could not find anything worth dashing into a burning house for. The answer was a big fat nothing. The objective is not to die for whatever object I considered worth saving, but maybe a mild cough from smoke inhalation at most.
When I failed to come up with an answer, I congratulated myself heartily as it seemed to me that I was not tied down by material things. Yes, I had reached a higher level of morality most humans had not dared and all that jazz. I popped the champagne and patted myself on the back. As this celebratory party was ongoing in my head, I must have looked a sight as I looked around the bus grinning from ear to ear and preening expecting everyone to applaud me. None was forthcoming. Did no one realise what had just happened?
In the silence after the celebration, I sat back with a smug smile on my face, but it was quickly wiped clean by another thought. Not having something special to make a quick dash into a burning house for might not be worth celebrating after all. Yes, I hear the rabble and the “what is this one talking about again?” Allow me to explain.
When you ask some people this question, they come up with such exotic responses like: my guitar pick from John Lennon, the hair from the Dalai Lama’s chin, a thread from President Buhari’s cap, the sole of Ghandi’s flip-flop and other responses that leave you with a mixture of bewilderment and envy. You know they have lived because the stories that usually follow these claims are fantastic. I did not have any such story anchored in anything. I felt like a loser and that is the truth.
As soon as I got home, I asked my friend the same question and he could not come up with anything either. I felt immense relief, although I was quick to point out that he might be a loser with no exotic life experiences. He scoffed at that. He did not care and he was fine where he was… thank you very much.
Still, I wonder. This is not about materialism, although would it not be nice to be attached to something that you love above all reason. How else would you explain going into a burning house for an object? For some they are probably family heirlooms, and by extension the love you feel for your ancestors or family members is connected to this object. It could be your wedding photographs or DVD. I should point out that the necessity of running into a burning building to save photographs or DVDs has been rendered useless by technology.
I have realised that in my bid to search for my fantastic story or “super object” I missed the truth. I do not need to travel the world or be extraordinary in order to find pleasure, beauty and my fantastic story. It is all around me and the laugh lines on my face lend credence to this. So, what would I save from a burning house? Nothing. Everything worth saving would already be out. My family and I. My eyes have seen some of the most beautiful sights in the world (hello mirror *wink) my ears have heard the most incredible things. My legs have taken me places even in the face of my fears and misgivings; and when I am constrained physically, my thoughts make up for the inconvenience. I am my own treasure box.
What would you save from a burning house if you had the opportunity to go back and why?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Fernandes Borges Michel