While I was living in Costa Rica, my local friends would wonder at the concept of the basement. With a perma-spring climate and high water table, nobody in that country had one. “Anyway, what would you use one for,” one friend asked me. “To store junk?”
If our job is any indication, the answer is yes. Basements have become warehouses for everything that we don’t use anymore, but think that perhaps, someday, we might need them. “What if there isn’t any more wrapping paper at Target, and all the grandkids are coming over for Christmas? Good thing we kept the last two feet of that paisley-patterned roll that we got on sale just after Nixon’s inaugural address. And that vacuum, well, the belt’s broke and they don’t make those any more, but geez, feel how heavy this thing is. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Be kind of a shame to throw it out.”
And then we threw it out.