It is a great wonder to me that Popcorn ceilings still exist. They have never been particularly attractive, even when every ceiling was covered with this polystyrene concoction. My particular Popcorn ceiling is good for dampening the noise from my three children and covering over whatever cosmetic imperfections would otherwise be there. And yet, if we (or anyone else) were building this house today, there is a 0% chance that we would resort to a Popcorn ceiling, even though the vast majority of my life has been under the watchful eye of this texture. In my parent’s house, I slept a foot or two below my own personal Popcorn batch in a lofted bed for years. Perhaps it is the familiarity that has bred this brand of contempt.
Or, perhaps it is just how much our current version collects things in all of its nooks and crannies. It is like the english muffin of our ceiling has been spread with dust, with particular care wherever there is an edge, a comparison corner where the popcorn meets a relatively smooth modern wall. Those are the places where our ceiling is the darkest. It is calling attention to the past, to the neglect of this tired aesthetic choice. But, it isn’t just dirt that our ceiling attracts. Our ceiling collects sticky toys, also known as Mochi’s. It doesn’t collect them for a few moments or even a weekend. Rather, these toys, once captured by the ceiling, are stuck for good. One such toy, a dingy white seal, has been on the ceiling for nearly a year.
You see, the Popcorn doesn’t care that you want the toy back. Even though you are ready to move on, to get back to the new games and play that you have planned, the Popcorn is not. It will hold on to your toy and to the dust and to anything else that is absentmindedly thrown at it. It was here before you and your toys. It will be here long after.
Our past choices watch over us, just like Popcorn ceilings, unflinching in their static indifference to our current decisions. They will collect the detritus of our movements, the dead cells of our daily dreams. And our past will take more too, like our idle moments of play with toys that do little more than distract. Our past does not care; it will take all of our machinations and look down on us, just waiting to consume more.
To be clear, you can scrape the Popcorn away. You can, through great effort, get rid of the dust and the Mochi’s that have amassed over the years. You can start fresh, by facing the past up close, and making the decision, again and again, to scratch at the layers of what you thought were good decisions. It takes work to remove what was. There is no easy way to remove the all-consuming Popcorn. It must be done by hand.
Are your hands up to the task? Or, do you prefer to look at the sticky toys and dirty corners that get worse by the day?