Friday, February 12 2010
Others have reported that after watching Hoarders, they've identified hoarder tendencies in themselves and then tried to do something about it. As it turns out, this is happening to me as well. I'm the kind of guy who can't seem to divest himself of things that might have potential, even if that potential is small. I have dozens of rectangular whiskey bottles, for example, because I imagine some day I will use them as transparent blocks in a masonry wall. I have every little porcelain figurine that ever came with a box of Red Rose tea, and I will probably never bring myself to throw away a bucket of old 56 baud modem ISA cards. eight months ago I managed to get rid of nearly the last of the houseold large-screen multiscan CRT monitors, but I've held onto my simpler CGA and monochrome monitors, and I recently acquired a monochrome VGA monitor with a nine inch screen just because I know how rare they are. I managed to throw away nearly all of the Honda Civic that Gretchen totalled nearly two years ago, though I still have its hatch door, both side doors, the hood (which is somewhat crumpled), and even its engine (with attached transmission). I also have a bucket of nearly every bolt I removed from it, which comes to about a gallon of volume. My problem has only worsened since I taught myself how to weld. Now every piece of scrap iron, no matter how misbegotten, has potential. It's a good thing I never had much luck with annealing glass, because my failure to do that correctly was the major thing keeping me from making things from scrap bottles (and then finding bottles too useful to recycle).
One of the great things about cleaning up and otherwise busting one's own clutter is that it makes for satisfying procrastination. When picking a form of procrastination, I tend to choose those that are either extremely straightforward (dish washing, firewood gathering, sweeping, bathing, television watching, excavating the greenhouse well, or masturbating) or have no consequences for failure (tinkering, repairing damaged equipment, or adding features to my database visualization suite). Caught between the pincers of deadline-based work and Hoarders-induced guilt, I started cleaning up my laboratory today. I just did a little at a time here and there as a form of procrastination. I didn't make much progress, but I did manage to clean up one place I hadn't cleaned in my last major laboratory cleanup: the laboratory bookshelf, particularly the bottom shelf, which has housed parts of an ancient laptop and a pile of useless clothes ("cloth scraps") for at least six years.
I felt a little like a close-minded fascist as I loaded that huge Visual Interdev reference into the woodstove, but it burned like a block of seasoned oak, swelling as it did so into a mass of grey ash three times as thick as the original and releasing an enormous amount of energy, potential heat that had been in my possession for over eleven years. Other books I selected for disposal today included a Flash 5.0 "bible" and a poorly-written Linux reference dating to 1996, though I didn't burn those yet.
The laboratory after I'd cleaned it, September 2005.
The laboratory after I'd cleaned it, July 2007.
The cluttered laboratory today, looking south. See if you can find Sylvia the cat.
The cluttered laboratory today, looking north.
Red Rose figurines and other small items on top of the laboratory's north window.
now to the living room, where my hoarding is prohibited
Eleanor and Clarence
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