I’m a collector of worthless things.
It started when I was in school. Every worksheet, every notebook, every textbook… I would keep it. I guess part of it was because I knew they carried memories I’d like to relive in the future, but what really moved me to fill folders and boxes with all those papers was the thought that they would proof useful in the future, and they did.
When I started giving tutoring classes, I would use them as my main source of material; it was fantastic being able to use the same schemes and summaries I’d been given because I was already familiar with them. But a few old photocopies being repurposed doesn’t justify a collection of dozens uncategorized textbooks plus five folders of worksheets – all of them survivors of at least one deep cleaning day every September before the new school year.
I’ve never been able to get rid of things. I always think I might be needing them again or just feel too emotional to throw them away. That’s how I ended up with half a thousand books – not exaggerating, I have them categorized in Libib -; fifty-four Barbie dolls with their accessories, cars, houses and even a plane and a few more games and toys; all Disney animated films before 1969 in VHS, about a hundred DVDs – hard to say which are mine and which my father’s – and about the same number of CDs – fortunately the cassettes didn’t survive the previous cleanings.
This worthless collection of things that I call memories to avoid admitting they’re just junk I deny to throw away may not seem like a lot – it didn’t to me -, but if we consider the fact I’m moving one thousand and one hundred kilometers away in 63 days, it is in fact a lot.
Everything that has survived previous cleaning days has been so fortunate because – even though the day looked further and further as the years went by – I always thought I would take it with me when I’d move to my own place. My so dear Barbie collection, so well kept in a wooden old trunk my father restored for me when I turned 18, for example, I have always imagined it displayed in my own living room behind some crystal doors; and my books, my more than five hundred books in Catalan, Spanish and English that I have collected over the years – some new some second-hand -, I have always foreseen them in a long shelving going from one end to the other of the corridor.
Now that I am taking a flight across the English Channel and I have to pack not for a few days but for a longer stay I realize that maybe all these things I’ve been keeping so dearly to dress a home I have yet to find might not be that important to me. If I was moving somewhere closer I would have never had this thought, but since I’m not, since I am actually leaving the continent and with a limited space and weight for my luggage, I’ve realized I have a clearer understanding of what’s important and what’s not that I would have ever admitted.
Maybe, if my adventure goes well and my stay in the UK became permanent, I would have whatever survives this last cleaning sent to me, but right now, I am willing to travel light, leave everything from my past behind and start a new worthless collection of things in London.
Do you also have boxes and boxes of stuff from your childhood stored somewhere?