Some days I don't do something- I just stand there- some days I don't just stand there, I do something.

On this morning of an energetic day, (I had just polished off a bowl of oats with strawberries and bananas) I experienced a burst of unusual energy and decided I'd clean out the overstuffed, bulging hall closet. I approached the door with some trepidation, afraid that stuff would spring forward like a jack-in-the-box when I opened it. Sure enough a box of Xmas lights popped out right on top my head, the big old kind we used to wind 'round the porch railings.

Drawing back in mock horror at the daunting task before me, a frightening thought suddenly flashed across my mind. “Do I have it? I must have somehow caught it, that new 21st century disease that's been going around.” “Have I been a “Hoarder” all this time and didn't even know it?”

I have to call somebody- I need help!

This is not a job for my sister, brother,

mother or aunt; I think they have this too- it's spreading all through my family! Maybe it was inherited.

Flipping through my mental rolodex, trying to match my problem with a fixer, the solution finally came to me.

Purple Heart, Goodwill, W omen’s Shelter, Mary Magdalene Catholic charities; I'm sure they'd all be willing to aid me in my search for a cure.

“Catch it early and nip it in the bud,” I thought, “It's cathartic to get rid of this stuff.”

For the next hour I worked feverishly, pushing, pulling and dragging super size lawn and leaf bags and cardboard boxes stuffed with shoes and clothes out of the closet.

Old tee shirts I kept to wear when I dyed my hair, I always forgot to put them on, and just ruined the one I was wearing.

When did I buy this dress? I can't imagine where I would have gone wearing a dress like this. It's white satiny brocade with a tie belt in back, of all things, and looks long enough to go below my knees. Why would I buy a dress like that- was it a split second of insanity or a flashback to my last life right before I died at 92? Guess I never wore it though- it still looks new. Guess I'll give it to Mary Magdalene Charities, maybe someone 92 will want to wear it to church.

Old curtains, pillows, throw rugs and lampshades, (One bent from New Years Eve) puzzles, board games and weights. A beach ball, snorkel and flippers, never used and still in the box.

Unfinished embroidery and macrame, (Wow, I've had this disease longer than I thought)

A box filled with tangled cords, wires and plugins, who knows what they went to- old telephones, cell phones and VCR's, and paperbacks by the dozens. Including a learn to play guitar instruction book which is still in the plastic wrap, mainly because I never got a guitar; and there's my old picture album I've been looking for.

The baby pictures are falling out of the triangle stick-on corners. There's one of me- Marie Antoinette hair, paisley bat wing blouse and 5 inch square-toed shoes- What was I thinking?!

And why did I save all these half and quarter bottles of shampoo? Maybe I should combine them all and make one big bottle full. Then my hair could be soft and shiny, yet oil-free and sculpted; curly and bouncy, yet smooth and relaxed; sleek, yet revitalized and volume boosted. And smell like citrus watermelon strawberries in a garden of jasmine, ginseng and honeysuckles.

A giant dinosaur computer monitor that feels like it weighs 100lbs, I'll just drag it by the cord.

Who'd want something like this anyway? Maybe a 20th century technology museum.

All to the curb they go- whoops, dropped that box of mason jars; whatever made me think I was gonna make pickles again.

I'll start with a clean empty closet and cure my Hoarders disease, I vow- and keep only what I'm going to use now.

As I sit on the front steps resting, I'm wondering where this hoarding disease began. It must have been as far back as Cro Magnon man.

Although it seems to strike mainly women, some men who have more than their share of female traits can be hoarders too.

I think it got started when women became the gatherers. Becoming bored on their daily forays picking nuts, roots and berries, they began to pick up other objects they ran across- brightly colored bird feathers, iridescent shells and interesting unusual rocks.

That's probably how decorating began- they placed these gathered objects they found in various places around the cave. The men didn't at first seem to mind, actually it brightened things up a bit and gave them something to do while they were away on long hunting trips- besides, those men they usually left behind, because they had more than their share of female traits, were excited to help them with this new innovation.

Some of the women began to get creative in their designs- molding wet clay into hand-shaped cups, to hold water, nuts and berries, and twisting and tying vines and branches into mats to sit on by the fire.

They also found that bearskins could be used for something beside covering their bodies in winter- they also made a soft warm bed in the cold recesses of the cave. Every time one woman got something, all of the others wanted it.

Competitive consumerism was born.

The man returned from hunting, cold, tired and hungry. “ Where's the roots nuts and berries?” he grumbled, “Why aren't they here on the rock?” “What did you do all day?”

“I've been molding this cup to hold berries, and weaving this mat to sit on by the fire,” she answered.

“It would be better,” said he, “If I had some berries and nuts in the bowl to eat while I sit on the mat by the fire.”

“I just can't please you at all!” she screeched, hands on hips and eyes flashing. I work all the fur off my fingers trying to make you a nice cave to come home to, and all you can think of is why the nuts and berries are not on the rock as soon as you walk in the door; which by the way we wouldn't have if I hadn't have dragged those long sticks home and lashed them together with sinew, which you didn't even notice!”

“Must be that full moon again,” he muttered, as he shuffled off to the trees to gather his own nuts and berries.

When the sun went down and the cold crept in, they both turned mellow and merry-

snuggled together on the warm bear bed without thought of a nut or berry.

Soon the women began to look for something different that the others didn't have.

As it happened one day, a creative woman named Lucette- she was named after her grandmother Lucy-

went wandering amongst the trees, looking for something new and stumbled upon a bed of brightly colored, long stemmed nettles. Although discerning that they weren't good to eat, their taste was sharp and bitter, and they made her head feel woozey, she still enjoyed looking at them.

She didn't have time to waste sitting in the trees looking at colored nettles, so she plucked up a handful and carried them home and placed them on the dining room rock. Not satisfied with that flat limp look, she sought to make them look more like they did when growing in the forest floor. She squeezed wet clay 'round the gathered stems and stuck them down in a round ball of clay which she plunked and flattened on the table rock.

A vase was born.

As soon as the others saw it, a frenzied run was made on the nettle patch, and soon every dining room rock was adorned with upright, clay ensconced colored nettles.

The men shook their heads again in wonder and confusion at this creature they'd been given.

“Oh well,” he thought, “as long as she gathers the nuts and berries, keeps the fire burning, roasts the meat and cuddles up with him on the warm bear bed when the sun goes down, she can have all the rocks and feathers and colored nettles she wants; anyway, it gives her something to do besides nitpick him and shriek about needing a bigger cave.Maybe now he'll have more time to concentrate on making a longer sharper spear to go hunting.

First we were gatherers, then collectors, then yuppies; then we got cured and tried to be hippies.

That austerity didn't go over too well, so now we're gatherers and hoarders again.

Look out closet- here come the shoes and pictures and purses; the tennis racquets and knickknacks, exercise bikes and backpacks!


 

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