Time Capsules

I opened a time capsule yesterday – not that I knew it at the time.

I had a new stick of lip balm and reached in the drawer to put it with the others. (Somehow they just accumulate from dental visits and freebies in with other self-care products.) I noticed when I put it in my makeup drawer that there were actually two compartments that already held lip balm. In a compulsion to do the right thing, I decided all the new lip balm should be in the same cubby hole.

It sounded like an easy enough task. But both of the cubbies where lip balm already lived were too small to hold the whole collection. They could be consolidated if I just rearranged a few things. That’s when I fell down the rabbit hole.

Taking the lip gloss out, I discovered some lint, and of course if there’s lint in one cubby hole, you know the others have lint as well. Out came the vacuum cleaner. One by one, I emptied each compartment to vacuum it and then tried to guess which compartment would be the best size and shape for each category of make up. I found many non-makeup items in the makeup drawer.

Before I got too far along, everything from inside that drawer was out on the bathroom counter top, and the wastebasket was filling rapidly. I’m no longer in life circumstances where I do full makeup every day, so most of what was there was archival at best. There were eye shadows and blushers older than some countries. Lipsticks and eyeliners dried and sticky – well past any useful life.

Putting my own embarrassment aside for the sake of the story, here is what else the drawer contained in addition to all this makeup:

Two old, tarnished brass keys belonging to something long since forgotten.

Three small, unmatched screws.

A tiny purple flashlight, fused together forever by a leaking battery.

A package of straight pins.

A pedometer, which surprisingly still came to life when I pushed the buttons, and quickly reminded me that it was one that I never could get to work right.

A small bottle of prescription pain meds.

A brass bookmark.

An old cigarette lighter – the type you fill with lighter fluid, sporting a sassy and semi-obscene sentiment that a parent might for instance, take away from a teenager. Our son is 43 now.

A drill bit.

Two wooden plugs – the ones you tap in to conceal the head of screws in wooden furniture.

Tubes of loose glitter in both silver and gold.

The cap to a tire stem.

Two pocket mirrors.

A 2 peso coin; it’s been about 12 years since we’ve gone to Mexico.

A button.

A seashell.

A small container holding a kidney stone (explains the pain meds).

Two straw flowers which I remember growing and drying myself.

Various makeup brushes.

A memento of dog fur from one of our most beloved beasts.

A tape measure.

A “while you were out” note in our son’s (young) handwriting, something about going to Miami for a month for $35.

A 1 peso coin.

A flyer explaining Black Hills Gold jewelry.

And the prizewinner: an old pill bottle containing 5 human teeth.

My overwhelming question to most of this is: Why? Why didn’t the drill bit go back to the kit with the others? Why do I have glitter? Why is the Black Hills Gold flyer in with my makeup instead of with my jewelry? And a kidney stone….. really?

You’re laughing – I know you are. But you also know that you have a drawer…. a box…. a cupboard…. with your own collection of weird memorabilia. We all have a time capsule, by accident or by design, that holds some moments of our lives. Are you ready to take a look?

Tell me about it…..

(c) 2021, J.L. Cools

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