The story goes that Speedy — my husband — liked to take long baths in the bath tub as a child. One time, he forgot to drain the water and his mother had to do it. Decades later, when she related the incident to me, she was still laughing over the nuts and bolts that she found in the tub after the water was gone.
Those nuts and bolts would later become a huge part of our married life. It would be a bone of contention and a subject of numerous heated (and often exasperating) arguments. See, he keeps boxes of nuts and bolts — in various sizes. He also has spools of cables — in various colors. He has a collection of caps that he never uses, a collection of T-shirts with sepia lines where they are folded (that’s how long they have been in his closet — untouched), a collection of bags covered in gray and brown substances (a mixture of mold and dust, I guess), jackets that are totally unwearable in the tropical heat, key chains that no longer have key rings, ball pens that have run out of ink… In short, he loathes throwing anything away.
If the cliche “opposites attract” is applicable to human relationships, my husband and I are proof that it is so. He was a quiet child; I was the chatterbox. He’s a math and science person; I love arts and letters. I love throwing away junk; he loves keeping anything and everything. You can just imagine what kind of arguments we had every time he would come home and found more empty space in the house than there was when he left it in the morning.
A blog called Collectors’ Quest cites an episode from a TV medical show that showed brain scans of hoarders, and a Dr. David Tolin who believes that “hoarding, currently considered a subset of obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, really may be a unique disorder completely separate from OCD”.
No shit. Now, I don’t know what separates a collector from a hoarder. My husband’s reason for keeping all that junk is that “they might be useful someday.” When that someday is, I do not know. So, maybe he’s not a hoarder. Maybe, he just has more foresight than I do. Or, maybe, that Dr. Tolin, who has devoted his professional life studying hoarders, is just trying to stir controversy for the sake of fame and fortune.
Personally, isn’t there a worthier use for science and medical knowledge than studying brain patterns of hoarders?