Not until I turned forty did I start thinking about my senior years and the person I’d become. Actually, there was one time before, when I took a theater makeup course in college. For our midterm exam we had to transform our face into the eighty-year-old version of ourselves. That was sobering. After I cleaned up, I applied SPF 80 and a good deal of blush and have kept it on since.
There are many common fears of aging: loss of hair (or growth in unsightly places) or teeth, loss of physical strength or mental acuity, becoming incontinent, becoming sick. But except for losing my memory, the only thing I really fear is becoming a hoarder.
I wish I could say that I only had one junk drawer, like normal people. But more than that, I must admit, I love my junk rooms−drawers. Is that bad? I am not a hoarder. I don’t think. However, I fear I may display some early indicators:
*a cabinet full of cords. I don’t know what they are used for−if I knew that, then I’d know if I needed them. USB, ethernet, coaxial, HDMI, monster cables. Most of these are still in sealed plastic bags secured with twisty-ties. I have a collection of phone chargers, battery charges, camera and portable dvd chargers that I’m scared to throw away. I’m sure I no longer own half the things these chargers are meant to charge.
*paint cans. I have saved every paint can I've ever bought. Notice I said bought, not used. I even keep reject colors. Even empty cans. I save those because the formulas are written on the lids. Most of the colors are custom. They are not from a paint chip found in strips at Home Depot. I always return those colors so the paint people can add black or add white to get the colors absolutely perfect (perhaps that’s a sign of another problem). All this customization means the colors cannot be duplicated unless I save the original cans.
*pieces of scrap wood, fabric, foam, metal. Any of these things can be used in the future to create a genius abstract work of art.
*about sixteen years’ worth of shelter magazines. They are all so gorgeous; you never know when you’ll need some advice on color combinations, furniture juxtapositions or a little bit of creative inspiration.
*“box” of hardware. Okay, it’s not really a box as much as it is a bench. I bought the bench for my tools, but my hardware collection is much more impressive! There are screws and nails (indoor and outdoor), hinges, bolts, nuts, washers, knobs, locks, door stops, springs, tacks and some other lesser known pieces of hardware. I sometimes take things apart and save the hardware. Why? I don’t know!
*shipping boxes. I have a special closet just for shipping boxes of every size and shape imaginable (including tubes). These are boxes I’ve received in the mail from ordering stuff, but I simply can’t part with a good box. Although this collection is extraordinary, it is far exceeded by my collection of bags, both paper and plastic. I have, without intending to boast, clearly the most staggering bag collection you have ever seen. I am not in the least bit biased, I collect bags from all types of establishments, mass or posh, but it’s the bags with metal or twine handles, circular or trapezoid shaped, with gussets, without!, die-cut with logos, matte laminated, 4 color 100% ink coverage with grosgrain handles, that I truly covet.
*shelves of old towels, sheets and blankets. There could be a storm and I might need to host unexpected sleep-over guests. A lot of them. Or, I could end up with a beach house someday. I’m gonna need a surplus of sheets and towels then, won’t I?
*jars and bottles of unique shapes, cookie tins, souvenir shot glasses, as-seen-on-tv kitchen gadgets, camp art projects, crazy-glue tubes forever sealed, AA batteries, old address books, orphaned gloves and socks, buttons, business cards, eyeglass repair kits and a rolodex.
Please help me. Becoming a hoarder doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow gathering. An unnoticeable, subtle collecting. I may be exhibiting warning signs.
I may need an intervention.
If you think I could benefit from an intervention, please give me some advance notice so I can clear out the garage.