anti-disposophobia / book-o-phile

20 June 2010

I’ve arrived safe and surprisingly comfortable ( considering I was carrying my heaviest load hitchhiking yet ) in Leuven. And, as a first priority, I’ve given myself the task of junking(1) most of the stuff I had left here. If I didn’t needed it since I’ve been away, I doubt it’s important enough to worry about. I think my favourite physical things are all edible.

My top priorities to go:

  • Furniture. There’s enough  Ikea in the world, I think I can manage finding some without renting a van for my personal copy.* DVD’s, legal computer game copies, printed pictures. Previous century stuff.* About enough computing equipment to start a small business.* Kitchenware. People die all the time, so I’m sure I can find it wherever I go. Exception made for my demi-chef.* And clothes. Yeah, I’m surprised too. I’m no Imelda Marcos, but I could still clothe myself for a couple of weeks. And I would love to see a documentary on Nigeria with a background character wearing one of my several (!) shirt with “Porn Star” written on the front of itI love this process. I think that for people who like stuff, they get a tiny bit of satisfaction from acquiring new trinkets. But when they have to move, or throw away, it’s one big traumatic experience. I’m exaggerating, but I once helped a woman reduce her wardrobe by 30 percent. For me, it feels more like being locked up inside for too long. I can cope with it fine, and it seems necessary. But dissatisfaction creeps in slowly, and once I’m able to get rid of it in a flurry of energy, it feels extremely exhilirating.

Despite all this retoric, there’s one I would really would like to put there, and if I did I would be selling my soul. I’m talking about books, of course. Even though eReaders are getting better, I still consider them far inferior to the real thing. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it, as my computer perfectly reproduces the scratches on old blues records, but somehow I feel like holding on. Maybe it’s because I like to bring one as a gift, and it wouldn’t be the same to send it in an email. Maybe because I secretly like to snoop around people’s bookshelf to see their private life (not having one counts too!). Or maybe it’s because taking an electronic device into the toilet is kind of a milestone.

Happy junking this summer everyone!

If you have some time to spare, be sure to check out the story off the Collyer brothers, the only recorded instance of death by too much stuff. A cautionary tale.

Have you ever noticed that your shit is stuff, and other people stuff is shit?

Bill HicksBill Hicks

(1) Junking in this context means give a way for free if it’s worth it. Probably I could put a couple of things on ebay, but I doubt my possessions are any better than yours.