Friday, July 30, 2010

Apparently I'm not one to throw things away

I'm not talking about the disturbing tower of diet coke cans piling up around my desk (though that exists at the moment -- I'm revising, everyone knows that revisions are fueled by diet coke).  Instead I'm talking about other things... clothes, electronics, bottles of lotion (I'll be explaining that last one, never fear).

As it turns out, I'm someone who is apparently afraid of throwing something away that might, some distant day in the future, be useful.  Of course, because I'm also not the most organized person, I tend to not be able to find said thing and usually end up buying a new one.  This is why we have at least a dozen three-to-two prong plug converters (in our house you can never really have enough) and why I have a laptop from 1997 in my attic (complete with stacks of floppies brimming with old papers and short stories).  In the attic at my dad's house I have every paper I wrote in college, including the drafts (which, now that I think about it, probably has print outs of what's on those floppies like my old short stories - score!).  In my own attic I have clothes I bought with my first pay check as a summer associate at a law firm in 2003 (not only do those clothes not fit any more, why would I ever need them in my current profession of sitting around the house in PJs?)

Half the things I keep around are broken: all of the ethernet cables I've hoarded are missing the little clip at the end that keeps them plugged in so I'm constantly having to shove the suckers back into their ports -- but they work so why replace them?  We have three couches in our living room currently because I can't bear to throw out a comfortable, yet raggedy, old couch that still works.   In the attic I think I have every pair of shoe I've ever owned since college... even though most of them have the nails worn through on the heel but maybe I'll get them fixed one day (unlikely, we all know I'll just buy new ones).  And OMG I just realized I still have Halloween candy from two years ago (JP wouldn't let me hand it out last year) and Valentine candy hearts from when I was in law school which is over five years ago now!   Yet when I go to throw them away I think "They've stuck around this long..."

Sometimes saving things works out.  I still have my original rejection letters from when I queried my first book in 2001.  What's pretty cool is that I eventually got an offer from one of the people who initially rejected me way back when.  I'm super glad I have that stuff to look back over and remind me of my journey to where I am now.   I just found not only my first blue-tooth headset but also the charger (let me tell you how many times I almost threw away the charger but hung on to it JUST IN CASE I found the headset).  I bought both in 2006.  I don't think either works.  Sigh.

So what made me think about all of this?  The lotion bottles on my bedside table.  There are fourteen of them.  All of them (except one, the current bottle) in that stage of "almost empty but not quite and yet annoying to get lotion out so I should pick up a new one at the store to have on hand for when it runs out" stage.  There are also five canisters of Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme which I use as chapstick -- they're empty except for probably one "emergency if you scrape your nail under the rim you might just get enough" dose.  Also, two tubes of chapstick, one of them has been floating in an empty vase for probably two years.   Oh, and I think there are two more almost empty bottles of lotion in the hall closet "just in case."

Seriously, am I preparing for the apocalypse here?  An apocalypse in which I'll apparently be eating dusty candy hearts and scraping lotion from old bottles?  And yet, there is still some value to those lotion bottles -- I feel wasteful throwing them away.   Fourteen is a little much which is why I was laughing hysterically when I went to bed last night after having counted them all.  Fourteen! *shakes head*

What's funny is that this story will surprise no one in my family.  My Psych 101 prof said on the first day that everyone exhibits some form of obsessive behavior to which most people disagreed until he started asking people to recite random habits: one person could only go to sleep if the last time they saw on the clock was an even number, another person could only set their alarm to go off on a 3 or a 7, someone else always counted stairs, another flicked a light switch on then off then on again.   Apparently I hoard lotion bottles, shoes, and rejection letters just in case they'll become useful again.

When the apocalypse hits you're all invited to my house: we'll run away dressed as fancy lawyers with busted shoes, our skin won't be dry and our bellies will be full of old candy.

12 comments:

A. J. Spindle said...

"one person could only go to sleep if the last time they saw on the clock was an even number"

I totally did that until I was about 13. I hated it too! But just couldn't help it. I just threw away about 10 shampoo bottles that had just enough to wash my hair one more time because I've had them for years. I'm just like you. I hate to throw it away incase I need it!! lol

Carrie Ryan said...

LOL AJ. Perhaps we should not discuss shampoo bottles or else I shall be forced to go count the ones stacked in my shower and under the sink!

Maprilynne said...

I count. Everything. All the time. Not like how many things there are, but I count out time. I fill pots with water for a count of sixteen (twenty if it's not quite there) my mop bucket takes fifty, waterbottles ten from the fridge dispenser. I pick a spot pretty close to landing and try to take less than 100 breaths before touchdown (I've done some slooooooow breathing in my day!) and my son gets a slow count of 100 when I lay with him in bed at night. I could go on for hours . . . or at least 100 more slow breaths.:D

Carrie Ryan said...

I'm a counter too Aprilynne! I don't even hardly notice it anymore but sometimes I realize that somewhere in the back of my mind I'm counting things subconsciously! Awesome!

Miss Tammy said...

I'm beginning to suspect that we really are sisters. Not only do I have tons of "almost empty" lotions and shampoos, I find it necessary to have several different kinds of lotions, shampoos, and conditions in constant rotation. I could probably build a fort with all the bottles!

Carrie Ryan said...

Miss Tammy (and you do remind me of my sister in your twitter icon) -- I have quite the collection as well. I took a picture but then was too embarrassed to give photographic evidence - lol.

fakesteph said...

Why wouldn't he let you give out candy?

RBSHoo said...

You'll probably want to skip the two reality series currently airing on Bravo and TLC about hoarding.

Just sayin' is all.

Kenny said...

I trace progressions of gradually curving lines--with my fingertip, or my toes, or an arbitrary point on a piece of adjustable furniture... I usually start with a square that curves inward until it is a four-leaf-clover but variations are not uncommon.

That said, hoarding is just the beginning. My love of postapocalyptia combined with a family heritage of self-reliance makes me suspicious of anything battery-operated. I have a particular fascination with wind-up pocket watches and hand-crank radios because they will still work when all the battery factories get nuked from orbit.

Never mind that there would be precious little radio to hear, at least off the Ham frequencies... and who cares what time it is while the world burns? But that's what I get for being raised in a family of farmers-turned-engineers who also believe in parousia I guess.

At least now I know where to come for lotion when rebuilding America after the War. If you have any Aveeno, I'd happily trade this extra mainspring...

Demon Hunter said...

LOL. Too funny. I throw any and everything away if its no longer useful. I used to keep stuff, but no more. :-D

Chris said...

You didn't even mention not getting your hands wet LOL. THROW OUT THE BOTTLES. Pretend there is a CVS on every corner where you could get more day or night (oh, wait, there IS one on every corner!). Pretend there's a 24 hr Walmart just in case (oh wait...)

:-)
Your family loves you anyway.
Weirdo.

Kim said...

I just learned there is a new zombie series coming out in Oct. on A & E- The Walking Dead! It sounds awesome:-)