I was thinking today that sometimes I feel like Oliver Twist. There never seems to be enough in my bowl. Then I got to thinking that most people probably feel like that, even the super-rich. Feeling like that is really a luxury in most Western countries, as many people around the world are so poor they can’t afford a bowl, let alone some food to put in it.
Fortunately I am not in that position, and probably have enough bowls to keep Oliver supplied with gruel for the next 10 years! This lead me to ponder the habit of hoarding. I am a bit of a hoarder (some would perhaps say more than a bit) but my partner Rod trumps me. He has developed a passion for clocks, and they stare accusingly and (mostly) silently at me from walls and bookshelves all over the house.
As he works from home and receives regular items by courier, we now have a room which we laughingly refer to as The Box Room.
This used to be a bedroom in the dim distant past, but has now been taken over with formidable piles of boxes of all shapes and sizes, as well as bubble wrap and foam. Some of these are recycled and sent to customers and relatives, but each time I open the door I am greeted with a new looming menace. They seem to have a life of their own and their breeding habits are out of control.
Having spent some time in the past working at preschools, I learnt the value of saving egg cartons, bottle tops, boxes, toilet rolls, coffee filters etc as they could be used to create anything from a bee or submarine periscope to a car. Unfortunately I now feel a pang as I place them in the paper recycling bin, as I can see their hidden potential, and have been known to secrete them in cupboards “just in case”. This has lead to periodic culls, when I reluctantly clear things out because they fall on the floor whenever I open the cupboard doors.
Why do we develop such an attachment to objects? If I had a Monet or Picasso I would say that it was because of their beauty and how much satisfaction I get just looking at them.
Lately I have developed a fascination for different kinds of chopsticks and have developed quite a collection. My favourites are two wooden ones made in Africa, which look like tiny giraffe heads on long necks. I found them some time ago at a garage sale, and now gain immense satisfaction from using them when eating takeaway Chinese food. I don’t know what it is about them that I love so much. I love real giraffes with their amazing necks, long legs , huge eyes and beautiful spotted coats, but I don’t want to collect them (fortunately as I think my neighbours and the Council would object profusely).
Perhaps it is just that the chopsticks remind me of the beauty, variety and quirkiness of nature. Eating my food with them becomes a bit like a journey into a strange land. When I eat with a knife and fork, I don’t pay attention to them because they are just utensils.
My giraffe chopsticks however bring a little of the exotic into my life. My food seems to taste better and I have to pay more attention to it or little bits of rice escape and fall on the floor and onto me. My meal becomes a small adventure in itself.
I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the film ‘American Beauty‘ a plastic bag wafting on the breeze becomes for a moment an object of almost unbelievable beauty.
The trick in life is not to become buried under a pile of your favourite possessions, and to learn to let them go eventually.
|Have you seen Harold?|
|He’s over there behind the elephant