Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Leaving San Diego 8

Twice now I’ve set aside time to go to the storage unit and continue the progress but each time the day comes I can’t bring myself to do it. My excuse was always “No vehicle to donate stuff if I even knew what to get rid of and what to keep”. It wasn’t even confirmed that Atlanta was the destination.

So instead I just do some math. This is why we studied word problems in grade school. Z =The cost for rental truck X minus the replacement cost of personal belongings plus travel expenses to Atlanta which is Y. If Z is greater than $100 then try something else. I tried several “something elses”. How much to take an extra really large suitcase on the flight. How much to have everything shipped via UPS. The math all works out the same. The grand total value of my belongings is less than what it would cost to ship, truck or put in checked in luggage.

But then there’s the artifacts. Over the years I’ve kept souvenirs, letters, t-shirts, post cards etc. All too much to pack but I find myself really loathe to get rid of it. Most of it won’t mean anything to anyone but me. My junk has great value but as soon as it leaves my possession it’s just junk.

TV comes to my rescue. Nothing helps you getting over your own craziness like watching someone more crazy get help. What I mean by that is Hoarders. A TV show about people so obsessed with their belongings they can’t let go of anything. Even trash. I’m not that far along but it’s good to have some perspective.

If you haven’t seen the show they all follow the same basic format. Scene one we get to see the trainwreck of a home the subject lives in and we find out the crises for this person. For example the family could have the kids taken away or the landlord is threatening eviction. The next scene is the introduction of the organizer of therapist depending on the location and the clean up. Seven to eight minutes into the clean up the subject has a breakdown of some sort. I see the similarities. Where I would think of something more fun or more pressing to do to avoid the clean up our subject finds repressed memories of rape or just has a nervous breakdown. Oh the drama.

In the end a few of the homes get cleaned up but the majority don’t. The last few minutes of the show are used to explain that further counseling is needed or in the really dramatic ones the kids get taken away. I like how honest the show is and that it doesn’t try to hide the failures. I like looking at the messes too although I do find myself thinking they’re throwing away some perfectly good stuff and I fight a tiny fleeting urge to go to the rescue of a big wheel or an old Monopoly game missing some pieces.

In this last show I watched there was at least one pearl of wisdom from the counselor. “If the stuff goes away it doesn’t mean the memory does”. I could apply this to my souvenirs as easily as the crazy on tv could apply it to that dirty dixie cup from 1992.

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