The Friday Morning Listen: The Police – Ghost In The Machine (1981)

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While packing up a house in the effort to get it ready for sale, there comes a time when the oddest sensation arrives — when you feel like the house just isn’t yours anymore…and that you no longer belong there. Our house has been scrubbed, repairs have been made, miscellanea has been tossed in the trash, and walls have been painted. Many items have been placed in storage and the rooms have been staged.

One morning while putting on my shoes, sitting on a love seat that had been “staged” all the way from our bedroom to my office, I realized that I felt like a visitor in this house. We purchased the place eight years ago. We still own it and yet somehow I’m a stranger.

This was to be expected. I’ve left only a few houses in my adult lifetime and each time there has been this crossover period when the transition from owner to former owner took place, even if the actual transaction was months away. The bittersweet part of it comes from my sense of place: much like how I remember where I was when I purchased most of my treasured musical artifacts, I also have a lot of memories attached to various sites at the house.

There was the huge stack of boxes in living room. It was the first set of books moved from the old place. It felt like we’d staked our claim. There was the painfully large stack of record crates, piled against the wall of one of the third story bedrooms. They were the last (and most painfully moved) items taken from the moving truck.

More ephemeral — and perhaps more painful — are the places that remind me of loss. I stand in the kitchen and see my mom’s ugly (yet comfy!) chair. If I take a step back I can see the path she took as she walked (assisted) from that chair and out the kitchen door, never to return. It’s not something I want to remember, but it’s always there. Similarly, if I look left out of the back porch door, I see what is now the dining room window. A few years ago, it was my parents’ living room window…and there I would see my dad in his recliner, looking up at the television.

These are images that will never leave me, even after the house is sold. I sometimes wish that this wasn’t the case, that some of these memories would fade. I suppose it’s just part of life, having to deal with the past as you move into the future. That doesn’t make it any easier, that’s for sure.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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