With the exception of practical items like my glasses, keys, and cell phone, which I regularly leave in my wake, I tend to hang onto things. I like to tell myself that this proclivity is in no way hoardery, but a habit that’s been enabled by a surfeit of closet space and driven by a completely justifiable combination of sentimental and practical concerns.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated a hodgepodge of items. The sentimental include: my father’s Gucci man-bags circa early 1970s, jerseys from my son’s various sports teams, love letters stretching back three decades now, and the stick I peed on when I learned I was pregnant. Even this unwieldy collection has been significantly pared down. I’ve jettisoned dozens of team shirts that don’t have my son’s name on them, and originally that plastic bag memorializing that day I found out I was pregnant contained not one, but three pregnancy tests. That day was also of note because it might have been the only 24-hour period in which I’ve ever consumed the recommended eight glasses of water a day.
Then there’s the practical. When I bought a new computer, I’d intended to get rid of the old one, but my failure to check that off of my to-do list has turned out to be a good thing. The old model has a DVD player, and the new one doesn’t. Score one for an inertia-related win! Before my parents moved into an assisted living facility, I salvaged a clunky, utilitarian set of dishes from their kitchen. It sat in my garage for several years while I debated its fate. Fairly indestructible, it has proved the perfect set to be abused by my college student and his roommates.
A case could be made that my motivations were both pragmatic and emotional for sticking with a marriage long past its expiration date—fear of a penurious future and the loss of a comforting, if fraught, continuity. The same could be said of my attachment to the vibrators and other sex toys that crowd my socks drawer. Since the marriage has now ended, it seemed like an auspicious and even essential moment in which to bid them farewell. Like my wedding ring, they were acquired during our years together, and our encounters are inextricably linked to that relationship. I have also reached the age where I’ve begun to consider what would happen if I should suddenly expire and my son was left to sort through my belongings. Of all my possessions that I’d hate to burden him with, these small appliances are near the top of my list. But where would they spend eternity? That’s the practical part of that equation. I had no idea where to retire my longtime companions. Not that I hadn’t given it some thought.