The Crappy, Old Stuff (Groom With A View)

One night Evin coerced me into sitting down with her to register for wedding gifts. Her parents had been pestering us to get this done because friends of theirs — strangers to Evin and I — wanted to get us engagement gifts. We had at the time only four dinner plates. Two from my previous marriage, and two scratched, cobalt blue ones from Evin’s post-college days. I guess they weren’t good enough anymore. So to the Bed Bath & Beyond web site we went and sailed though the kitchen section. We chose plates, mugs, glasses, and a few necessary items for Evin’s baking needs, something we all benefit from. This was fun.

“I need new socks and underwear,” I joked.

“Gift cards will put you in new socks and underwear,” she replied and I think she was serious.

But I was a little uncomfortable, too.

We already have stuff. We have lots of nice stuff. We even have lots of crappy, old stuff, too. And I was attached to the crappy, old stuff. The mug I stole from the sublet when I first moved to New York, the drinking glasses my brother bought me when I moved into my first rental, the silver salt and pepper shakers my parents got me when I bought my first apartment, my sister’s old pots and pans, even a few spoons and bowls (shh, don’t tell Evin) from my first marriage. What would happen to it all?

One Saturday we went to the store to see flatware. Which fork felt better? Did it have good weight? What gauge stainless steel was it? Was it balanced? Do we need to have the guests who were buying this for us over for dinner so they can use it? New things in, crappy, old stuff out.

Often now our UPS guy brings us boxes bigger than they need to be, then smiles and slaps my back—he knows what’s was going on. Even the owner of our building and her daughter and son-in-law who know we got engaged have started to notice the boxes and are now dropping hints about being invited to the wedding. One day, eight new Loft by Rosenthal, 11 inch, white dinner plates arrived. As Evin unpacked them, I went and removed the four old ones from the cabinet. They sat on a bench in our dining room for a few days until we could decide what to do with them. I swear I heard one of them scream at me one day, How could you do this to us?!

Shiny new things were coming into our lives. But the crappy, old stuff held memories for me. And now they’re in the garbage. One night we ordered Chinese takeout and Evin suggested we eat off of the new plates. I have to admit, they are nice. I guess we’ll just go ahead and make new memories with them.