11 August 2011

a want/need thing: a ticket stub diary

In various pockets and purses, you will find a paper trail of my travelling life.

In a jacket, for instance, I have the last Metro ticket I used in Paris when I lived there in 2003. All the ink has worn off because every time I wear that jacket, I reach into the pocket and remember my trip to Charles de Gaulle airport with my friend Katie—both of us lugging bags that weighed more than we did. {Do you know a trick for going through turnstiles with suitcases? We didn't, which led to much laughter. And to many French people looking at us with consternation.}

And in other places, I have movie stubs and boarding passes and postcards and receipts from very good meals.

I like that when I opened up my copy of Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking the other day, I found my boarding pass for a Chicago to La Guardia flight. With one glance at the flimsy ticket, I remembered my trip out there with my parents a few years ago: it was July, and we spent time exploring bookstores in Greenwich Village, as well as reading in Central Park.

My scattered paper trail means that at any moment, I could be reminded of a good experience. This seems like a worthwhile way to go about my day.

But then I saw this ticket stub diary the other day, and my need for order jumped up within me, a resounding whoosh of excitement, like a kid who's just heard the recess bell and needs to make it to the playground as soon as possible.

Organization is my playground, and if that's true, then this ticket stub diary could be my curly-cue slide. Hours of fun! Up and down, around and around! Every time I flipped through it, it'd send me flying down memories, twisting and squealing into joy.

It really would: I am not taking this metaphor too far. I mean, just look at this thing:

You could order this for yourself/me from uncommon goods—just go here.

If I got it, though, I'd lose that moment, that surprising moment when I pull out a purse I haven't used for awhile and I find a ticket from the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands.

And then, in the midst of packing my purse, I get to think of tulips and the rainy day I spent at the Keukenhof with my parents.

There's something to be said for that surprise of a moment, and so, to keep some spontaneous joy and nostalgia in my day, I will forgo organization.

For today.


  1. That's a tough one.

    I love those moments of memory too, but for me I think I'd go for the organization. Mainly because my purse is an absolute mess of receipts and papers at the moment and I'm afraid I'd just end up throwing away the tickets with the junk in a fit of passion.

    Somehow I think you are much more organized than I am though, so hopefully you don't suffer from my problem! :-)

  2. Sometimes is it truly best to forgo organization. Let life live its lovely moments. I do the same thing. Movie tickets, CTA passes, bus passes from Rome. And, of course, there is the encouragement in those moments to gather more bits of paper.

  3. I have a friend-of-a-friend who uses purses as a filing system. She puts every receipt and ticket stub in the purse until she can't fit anymore. Then, she moves her wallet and keys to a new purse, zips up the old purse, and puts it in a closet. Then, if she ever needs to find a receipt from 2006, she can say, "Let's see, I was carrying the orange purse that year ... " and go right to it. The mind boggles.

  4. Alyssa, I don't think I could do that, that purse organization thing. I switch purses too often and then what happens if it turns out later that you want to carry the orange purse again?

    The mind does, indeed, boggle. I will keep to my random scattering of ticket stubs, I think :)



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