Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wait! I might need that.

What is it about human nature that makes us want what we can't have?  You know what I'm talking about – we all go through it. 

It sometimes starts as early as grade school – that's when I first noticed it – but when I really think about it, it probably starts even earlier than that.  Have you ever seen a few toddlers playing together?  They're not really playing together; they're basically playing by themselves in the company of others.  One may be enthralled with his own toes while one shakes a small stuffed animal and another simply gnaws on a Lincoln Log.  Here's where the trouble comes in.  One of them notices a blanket or a squishy ball nearby, whatever it is, that's been sitting there unused and as soon as one of them goes for that object, the others immediately want it.  Why is that?  Well, the answer is simple.  They think they're missing out on something.  The toes – all ten of them mind you, the lambie and the slimy wooden dowel no longer hold any appeal, whatever that other kid has holds all the interest.  Some people never outgrow this.  It's called Keeping up with the Joneses, but that's a little different from what I'm actually getting at here.

I noticed this trait in myself in 7th Grade.  There was a boy who was, well… let's just say he wasn't really in the cool crowd.  He was really in a click of his own – alone in the click of his own – he's probably a millionaire today, but this is a story about when he was 12.  He spent a lot of time with me, as I did him.  He was funny.  It wasn't until my friends started to tease me about it that it became a problem:  so-and-so likes you… he's weird… why does he hold your feet?  (Yes, he did.  I don't know why.  He'd grab them from the seat behind me.  As I think back on it now, the question I have is not why did he do it, but how did he do it?  How long were that kid's arms?)  Anyway, all the teasing was too much for me.  I was embarrassed.  So, I made it clear that although I liked him, I didn't like him like that and I wanted him to leave me alone.  This could be where I made my mistake in life.  He took it like a man and stopped showering me with attention. 

Now here's the thing.  Even though he stopped – which is what I wanted – once he did, I missed it.  Not only did I miss it, I actually wondered why he didn't like me anymore.  So I got what I wanted, but once I did, I missed what I gave up. 

Well, I'm not 12 anymore but I do still carry a sense of, 'wait, I might want that,' and it dawns on me now that, possibly, it could be traced back to this very episode.  Could be, but probably not, right?  It's like I said earlier, this is inherent in human nature.

I think it's this trait – I may want this in the future – that plagues hoarders.  I could be wrong (I am so often).  Hoarding probably has deeper psychological roots than this.  I've mentioned before that I'm too neat and tidy to be a hoarder, but I do have more than a few things in my home that I know I will never use but will not discard – heck, I still have one unpacked box in my garage and I moved almost a decade ago. 

I have a rack to place inside my dryer for when I'm drying sneakers.  Never used it. 

I've kept the washing machine tub stabilizers since the day my washer was delivered.  The stabilizers are used when moving the unit.  I don't plan on moving any time soon and if I did, I likely wouldn't take the washer with me – and let's say, for sake of argument, I did take it, I'm sure I wouldn't figure out how to secure the concrete encased tub (front loader) with these stabilizers anyway, so why do I keep them?  Well, I might need them someday.

I have casters for my patio grill – which is hard-wired into a natural gas line.  This thing can never be on wheels and yet…

My living room ceiling fans work by wall switches and/or remote control.  Even though I use the wall switches, in my garage sits a box that contains all the accessories to convert the fans to be operable with pull chains.  Pull chains.  These things are mounted on 12' ceilings.  No one is ever going to pull anything – they're out of reach; but you never know, so.  The remotes, by the way, sit unused in a drawer.  Did I mention I use the wall switches? 

Also in the garage is a rear compartment security screen for my Santa Fe.  I took this out about 5 years ago to make room for something and there it sits.  It was unused while it was in the vehicle and certainly remains unused as it sits idly up against a wall.  

So what's the deal?  Why keep these things?  It's not like saving miscellaneous hardware (I have a cabinet in the laundry room filled with fasteners, cables, clamps, wires, items of all variety that I may actually use someday for a home repair or quick fix – at least that's what I tell myself.), or books (which I have begun to pass on) or even buttons (most new clothing comes with an extra button and not only do I save those, I've actually used them).  So why don't I get up right now and grab the dryer rack, tub stabilizers, grill casters, ceiling fan accessories and the Hyundai screen and chuck them all?  I don't know.  I just can't seem to do it – you know, I may need them someday. 

~ M.