Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Collector Personality

My mother collects spoons. They are souvenir spoons from different cities or national parks or other places, I guess. She also collects angels. When I walk in her house, I literally think I've died and gone to heaven, if heaven is a place with hundreds of house plants, antique kitchenware covering the entire east wall of the kitchen, and if heaven is where no magazine, regardless of how obscure, gets thrown away. My mother is a collector, a hoarder, and a keeper.

My sisters and their husbands are collectors, too. Chickens, watering cans, pottery, music boxes, oh, I don't know what else. I always feel guilty at Christmas time because I can never remember who collects what and I don't want to ask because I don't want to appear to be exactly the oblivious brother I am.

My family is a collection of collectors - - except for me. I am a purger, not a collector. I want stuff to be gone. I don't keep things. If something comes in the house, I'm happiest if something goes out to make room for it. I don't like hanging on to clothes. I keep books moving out and have performed ruthless purges of my CD collection, greatly enriching the inventory at Goodwill.

I don't know what it is about me.

I guess maybe I see stuff as like the blood in our circulatory system. Maybe collecting strikes me as being like cholesterol. Too much collected stuff builds up and arteries get blocked and somehow, for me, when too much stuff starts to pile up in the house, whether it's magazines or books or clothes or even mugs and drinking glasses, I want to clear the arteries, get the blood flowing again, and feel like I can breathe.

In my personal thesaurus, collecting is synonymous with claustrophobia.

Right now, the only things I really collect I store electronically. I'm starting to collect photographs, ones I've taken and ones from our family's collection that I've scanned. I have very few printed pictures from the past, but with a digital camera and an external hard drive, which takes up very little physical space, I can collect pictures, and they don't take up any room. I can make little YouTube slideshows and I can display my pictures at Flickr and they are like, well, invisible.

So, I guess I'm really a virtual collector, a collector of invisible things like digital pictures and thoughts in my head, but when it comes to the material world, I'm a man in conflict with it, and find it hard to even collect coins in change jar.

Read about other collector personalities here.

13 comments:

Robin said...

I think it makes sense that having grown up surrounded by so much "stuff" you'd search out some simplicity in your surroundings.

Laurie said...

I too am a purger. I get great joy and relief whenever I clean out closets, drawers, etc. I am intrigued by this pleasure, and a bit puzzled.

Interesting you used the word clautrophobia, because I am quite claustrophobic, and you have me pondering the connection between that and my desire to get rid of things.

Herb Urban said...

Very amusing take on the prompt. I wonder if 40 mg of liptor can cure me of clutter. Should I up my intake to 80 mg?

My mom collects yarn and framed pictures. Every square inch of her walls are covering in pictures. It is liking walking in 1982, be greeted by faded pictures of once youthful relatives I have not seen in decades. At least the angels sound comforting.

Mommy Dearest said...

I'm a recovering collector ... In purge mode now. And it feels damn good. Happy Saturday!

tumblewords said...

Collecting to a hard drive sounds so tidy. Dust-free. Findable. Nice post!

Ther said...

ha ha. i guess no one can blame me for you. sometimes we tend to go the other way from how the wind blows.

Redness said...

You're eloquent and enjoyable, different from the rest! Sounds perfect!

gautami tripathy said...

I too am a purger. I am always trying to discard unwanted stuff. I keep my books though.

Patois said...

I am the enforcer of the rule in this house: something coming in? Then something is going out! Sadly, I believe they've all taken to scurrying things in behind my back.

Hope said...

Such a serene collection that never needs dusting and is easily contained.

Jo said...

A very manageable collection.......I like your minimalist approach. I keep sentimental things, but am not a huge fan of clutter around and about.

Inland Empire Girl said...

Okay RP... what about your college sweatshirt collection? That counts. The apple hasn't fallen campletely away from the Woolum/West tree.

raymond pert said...

IEG,

You are right. It's such a small collection, though. It seems more like I've got some sweatshirts, but, yes, I guess I do collect them, even if sort of half-heartedly!