Old things exhilarate me. They thrill me more thoroughly, more profoundly than any other type of thing. Granted, to light my insides afire as they do (and to differentiate them from the endless amounts of useless junk already scattering the earth), these old things must possess a few specific qualities. They must feel substantive, strike that perfect balance between dilapidated and well-cared for, emanate a bizarre singularity without sacrificing function or practicality, and ooze with a certain sense of timelessness that can be carried decades into the future.
If that list seems too specific for you, give yourself a hearty pat on the back. You lack my occasionally debilitating tendencies of being high-maintenance–congratulations, friend!
On the other hand, if it seems a little vague, you’re not alone. I’ve deliberately watered the list down to make it palatable to other readers–I could (and should?) write hundreds of thousands of words outlining each specific feature I scan for when looking at old shit and deciding whether or not it “passes.” Feel free to pat yourselves on the back too, I guess, if that makes you feel better.
My bedroom, that glorious refuge from the wiles of the world, runneth over with the type of weird old shit that charms me so. Primarily pilfered from the dusty, decadent Cave of Wonders that is my grandmother’s house in Southern California, the garbage adorning my room’s walls and surfaces marks off every damn item on that list. With a quick glance around the space, here’s what I can spot:
- A turn of the century Chinese teapot. It is turquoise, with accents of red, green, cream, and yellow painting its surface in floral patterns and Chinese characters. I lost the pot’s lid, of course, so in its place rests a teacup from the same set, only flipped upside down. It sits above eye level, so my shoddy solution doesn’t look bad.
- A rickety children’s school-desk–you know, the kind where the desktop connects to the desk-seat with an awkward, obtrusive metal pillar. I needed a side table for my bed, and a repurposed baby-desk seemed like such a rad answer to my problem. However the desk on its own took up too much space, so I ended up sawing off the chair back and a couple of inches off the legs and now it looks perfect.
- More uniquely shaped and colored mugs, vases, and jars than I know what to do with.. Seriously, I’m a sucker for an old, purely decorative faux-container..
- A bunch of rocks/crystals/geodes my grandma collected over the years. I also think there was a cement block in that collection, which I obviously incorporated in my room’s decoration too
- Not one but TWO antique bird figurine/sculptures. Though different in style, neither are very anatomically accurate. One is black ceramic with brightly colored florals and a stiff, comically surprised face. The other is heavy like a rock, some sort of faux-ancient plaster with an abstract, organically colored design. I adore the weird lil guys and have been trying to set them up since I snagged them.
As you can imagine, this affinity for weird old shit bleeds into other corners of my life, too. People, for one, who possess the qualities I mentioned invigorate this hopeless introvert (and no, I will be making no adjustments to that quality list to make them make more sense in reference to human beings–mostly because a person being described as ‘striking that perfect balance between dilapidated and well-cared for’ is hilarious to me. Ditto the concept that human beings must possess a sense of function or PRACTICALITY. This is late capitalism at its finest!!)
The realm in which old things might dazzle me the most, however, is architecture. The Architecture Realm, I suppose, whatever the hell that means.
Old buildings ELECTRIFY and COLORIZE my sullen, grey heart. Weathered Brick? Mmmmmmmmmm. Crumbling cobblestone? I’ve lost conTROL… Rotting, decayed wood? Fudge me uppppppppppppp.
There’s an old mill at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon (one of the ridiculously accessible canyons just minutes from Salt Lake City) that tickles every damn fancy I have in regards to cool old stuff. Some friends in high school took me up there when I needed an interesting setting to take photos for my film photography class junior year (oh god, that was eons ago, and it makes me anxious). The property is technically off-limits to the general public (‘No Trespassing’ signs dot the TWO (!!) surrounding fences like zits), but we didn’t mind hopping over some concrete and scuttling under some chain-link to get there. Fearless.
In my attempts to brainstorm a good description of the building, I’m starting to doubt it’s a mill at all. That said, I also have no idea what else to call it. It evades any easy classification, and I think that might make me love it even more.
And on second thought, it might evade a simple description, and I’m not emotionally prepared to go into as much worshipping detail as I could, here. I don’t think you are, either.
Luckily, I took some pictures there last week. They might give you an idea of its transfixing energy, at least. I’m in all of them, unfortunately, and I didn’t realize I’d completely ignored straight-up architectural shots until I started editing them, but I have a nice enough face, and my outfit is cute-as, so you can deal.
There isn’t much else to say… Really, all I needed was an introduction to the pictures I took there last week–so why don’t you scroll on up and take a peek.