Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Microstory 1862: Full Sets

It wasn’t that big of a deal when I got started. Back then, we only had three channels, right? So people had to find other ways to entertain themselves. I mean, that sounds like people wished there could be more channels, so they wouldn’t be so bored all the time, but obviously no one was really thinking about that. They took up hobbies that people before them had done. Maybe it was the same old, same old, or maybe it was updated, but nothing is ever really new. It’s always just some kind of new sort of way of doing something that we’ve always done. I got really into collecting things. Our parents traveled a lot, leaving us to be raised mostly by my uncles. It wasn’t weird in those times for rich people to place their children in the hands of others. They didn’t want me and my siblings to get in the way, so we never went with them. Even once we were older, and didn’t need constant attention, we didn’t go on family vacations. In retrospect, my parents were kind of assholes. They were the ones who sent me down the path towards my dark and inescapable habits. They thought they were great, and it was true, we were so excited to see them whenever they finally did show up that we accepted whatever we could get. Ancient Greek coins? Parisian stamps? I’ll take ‘em. A magazine in a language I’ve never heard of, and will never be able to read? Yes, please. Toys, toys, and more toys; sign me up, please and thank you. We loved all the gifts, because they were coming from them, but we would have rather they had just been around more. I wish they could have raised me right, but I doubt they would have done a better job. That brings us to where we are today. My siblings ended up okay, but I never recovered. I took those coins, and those stamps, and those novelty toys, and based my life around them. I began to collect on my own, and like I was saying, it wasn’t a problem until it was a problem.

The word you’re looking for is hoarder. Some people become as such by not being able to get rid of things. They don’t deliberately order magazines just to stack them. They subscribe to a given periodical, and then just keep each one. I’m not like that. I am a discerning hoarder. I have a very particular compulsion. I don’t just want a whole bunch of cats, or even a whole bunch of dead cats. I want sets. I want every size of every color of a given series of highly absorbent towels. I want one of every item in a line of kitchenware from a certain brand. I don’t buy junk at random, and drop it all somewhere in my house. Each one has to belong, so I end up with a comprehensive—and truthfully, beautiful—collection to put on display. Because that’s the whole point, to showcase my collections to others. It’s not my fault that I don’t have a big enough place to do it right. If I lived in a mansion, you wouldn’t think any of this was weird. No, you would walk into my classic English literature room, and see my copy of Tarmides of Egypt, as well as all of his other works, along with his contemporaries. That’s what belongs there. And there’s a room for the stamps, and one for sports balls, and another for a generic license plate from every single unique region in the world, and so on, and so forth. That last one has always been my dream, I don’t actually have a complete set. If I did, I wouldn’t have the space for it, because I can’t afford that mansion. My parents were the ones who were rich, not me. So here I am in my wee little flat, where I look like a crazy person who’s oblivious to the state of her world. Whatever, my great-niece was telling me about haters, and that’s all people are. I regret nothing.

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