I open the freezer and half a dozen things tumble out. Among them is a large package, well-wrapped, like a sarcophagus actually, in layers of waxpaper, plastic, tin foil, tape. I’m impressed by the wrapping. But I cannot remember what is in there. I unwrap it, but I still can’t tell. All I know is it probably isn’t broccoli. It is grayish-white, and shaped like a long loaf which was attacked by a runaway handsaw. Or a truncated alligator snout. Or cod. I am tempted to throw it out, but then I remember when I used to hide my jewelry in the freezer, and I decide to defrost it first, and when it regains its identity, I’ll make an executive decision. While I wait, I re-stuff the freezer, and contemplate the nature of my madness: I hate to throw things away.
There are boxes in my garage, that hold broken – but not much/ very /too broken– appliances. If they were really broken, I tell myself, if they were really really broken, or smashed up, I’d take them out to the curb. I would. But this sweet, neat, pink, almost-new ice cream maker (with only the dasher missing from the company that went out of business so can’t replace the dasher)? How can I? Or a perfectly good half set of cutlery, or crockery? Why penalize the half that’s here by throwing it out? And there are baskets just five straws short of perfection, and a juicer whose fault it is not that I no longer juice, and a meat grinder ditto, and one espresso machine too many, and a former zester which has been replaced by a sharper model, which do not deserve to die. Should three turkey basters, bought at various Thanksgivings between which I thought I needed a turkey baster have to suck up the blame for my mistake? Or a baby’s stepstool of lovely maple be sacrificed just because the babies are grown?
And in the closets: the almost- new jacket with the huge shoulder pads, the leather trousers which will never make their way past my hips, the Brooks Brothers jacket in the strange green color which I bought on sale (probably because of the strange green color) but which M has never worn because of the strange green color? Do they deserve to go?
You can call me a hoarder, but I prefer to think of it as having a soft spot for my things. And hating the idea of waste. And not liking change of any kind. When we had a giant but dying oak tree cut down in our yard, I had the tree men cut me two slices of trunk which I planned to have M finish into trays or a table. The oak tree is gone five years now and they still lean, like huge cookies, against the unused treadmill. M has not found the time but it could still happen. (Well, not to the one slice of trunk which has curled slightly into the possibility of a cradle, which, you never know, do you, whether I might need?)
But I will admit that if push (the physics of space) comes to shove (M’s insistence) — and aside from the contents of my freezer — it sounds like there’s a yard sale in my future. And if the freezer contents turn out to be jewels, an e-bay offering, too.