Why I Love Mondays
I hate boxes. I know that’s a bit of an extreme statement. But, I’m so weary of perpetually tearing down boxes to be recycled. The moment I buy something I can’t wait to get rid of the box it came in. And, whenever I move house (which I’ve done a lot over the years), I’m relentless about getting things out of boxes as quickly as possible. Right now, a corner of my studio is full of the empty boxes we use to store Christmas decorations and I can’t wait to get those back to the store room.
And yet, here I am on a crisp Monday morning, in my workshop, having fun putting things into boxes. With a playlist of instrumental jazz-funk in the background and a warm cup of Maruyama’s “Cremoso” (クレモーソ) blend coffee by my side, packing some books, prints and final Christmas gifts. I enjoy taking care to fit things well, trying to solve the problem of how to keep items from being damaged in the postal tumble (not everyone’s delivery people are as careful as the ones here in Japan).
I even love finding the right kind of boxes – those things that normally are the bane of my existence. Right now, I have some amazing Japanese made book boxes that fold up like envelopes, and can snuggly fit different thicknesses, great if I’m shipping a book to one location and two to another! OK, so maybe, sometimes, boxes can be fun.
There’s something about boxing stuff up and walking it down to the post office that feels so good, so fulfilling, so complete. It’s like building a bridge, from my little world, to someone else’s reality. It’s more than just a connection, it’s an act of love.
Of course, it’s also work.
Sometimes I think about the poorly funded working-class high school I attended to and the ambition-less lives many of my school friends went on to live. Things could have turned out very differently for someone like me. One of my first jobs involved moving and counting boxes in a vast, mostly empty bus depot that was being closed down. It was a grimy, depressing place, and the full time staff were cold and unfriendly. On the second day of my week there I realised why. They had seen all their work friends lose their jobs as the depot became obsolete and with no work to do, they were quietly looting the place of anything of value, before they themselves were made redundant.
Compared to that experience, this Monday, spent boxing up my work to send all over the world, followed by a little writing, then editing photos from a recent trip to New York, is pure bliss. Of course, work is always a mix of things we want to do and things we have to do. However much we “follow our passions” (can we retire that phrase now) there’s no escaping the drudgery at times. We all have our cross, or our boxes, to bear.