note: see addendum at end of post for an update on this.
Last night was the third time we had watched the A&E show “Hoarding”. Like the other times I’d seen it, I was both apalled and deeply affected. As a friend who had also seen the program said to me a few weeks back, “we all have some of that in us”. He was talking about we book people, those of us who have more books than we can read, more than we can easily shelve, yet we continue to look at and obtain more books.
The show fascinates me, yet it is scaring the hell out of me. After watching it last night I had nightmares in which I had way too much “stuff”, including books, and horrible things were happening.
Some of the people in the program last night said they got a thrill out of shopping. If they were sad or depressed, frustrated or angry, a trip to a favorite store cheered them. They got a happy fix when they put something into the cart, when they bought it and took it home. Sound familiar? I get that when the Postal Carrier comes and leaves a book or two. I get it when the UPS truck stops outside my house. Uh-oh.
Okay, I admit I love books and I have a lot of them. They are beautiful, useful, entertaining, educational, fun and very much more. They are comforting. I’m NOT in the same league with these people who have completely lost it. I don’t have to wade through piles of detritus, clothing, papers, trash and “collections” of whatever to get into the house or go from room to room. My books, except the ones being read and the small (six or seven) on the nightstand are all either on bookshelves or in boxes stored in cabinets in the garage behind doors. in a space designated for them. There are no books in the living room, bathrooms, dining room. They are only in the Study and the master bedroom. In bookcases or on shelves. There are none on the floor. My home is clean, sanitary and tidy. But if I could see my home through the eyes of someone who doesn’t care about books, what would I see?
But is there a point when enough is enough? Do I have a… book addiction? Should I, could I, stop buying books?
April 19, 2:00 p.m. PDT – ADDENDUM –
I’m encouraged by the comments so far, and beside that I’m feeling a little better just with some time and a little perspective. My wife doesn’t consider the books a problem, any more than I do her fabric and quilting equipment. Also, we got a flyer on the door that a local charity is picking up clothes, bedding and such stuff tomorrow and we just went through the closets and bedding / pillow storage areas and have 4 bags of stuff to put out in the morning. This all resulted in a lot of found room, which will allow us to move some other things… it’s all good. I just wasn’t differentiating between my having a nice stock of books and the people who haven’t cleaned anything off the kitchen counter for two years and can’t throw away a broken hanger.