The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Hoarding By Proxy?

I’ve confessed before my penchant for “true crime” shows. I still love Law & Order, and all its spawn, and my viewing habits also include shows like Criminal Minds, The First 48, 48 Hours on ID, Dateline, Deadly Women, Disappeared, I Almost Got Away With It, Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?, etc. I must also confess, though, that I’ve seen so many of these shows, that now it often takes me just minutes to spot a crime story I’ve seen on one show being “recycled” on another. When I do, I watch anyway.

I think my interest in crime shows stems from my interest in human psychology, and a curiosity about criminal psychology and how the “criminal mind” works. But I’m also interested in how the human mind works, and the spectacular ways in which it can go awry. This leads to a whole other genre of television.

I call it “Psych TV.”

it includes shows like Intervention, Obsessed, and My Strange Addiction. But lately the show that gets my attention is Hoarders (and it’s TLC Twin, Hoarding: Buried Alive).

[pro-player width=”400″ height=”380″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAnah0l0rqk[/pro-player]

I think what’ pulls me into these shows is my own “neuro-atypical” tendencies. Even when the issues people are living with are alien to me, I feel some level of understanding and empathy for what they’re struggling with. I find myself cheering for them when they triumph and feeling for them when they have difficulties and setbacks, because I know what that that’s like in the context of my own experience.

But my interest in Hoarders surprised me. My ADD means that a certain degree of clutter is a reality in my life. Like a lot of people with ADD, I tend towards “visual organization.” If I can see everything, I can usually find what I’m looking for. And inevitably, when I “tidy up” and “put things away,” I can’t find stuff anymore. That’s usually because I can’t remember where I put it — “out of sight, out of mind,” and right out of existence, as far as I’m concerned. I still haven’t found a happy medium here. So for the sake of peace at home, I tidy up then spend days looking for the things I put away.

That said, I’m not a hoarder. For starters, it drives me crazy not to be able to walk across a room without running an obstacle course. (There are times, after the kids go to be, when I take a broom and sweep all the toys into the corner by the toy box.) I don’t have a problem throwing things away. It’s just that I forget to throw things away for long stretches. Once I start digging through my piles, lots of stuff gets pitched.

But I can empathize with people who are hoarders.

Hoarding by proxy, is another question altogether.

I’m with Prudence here. The “Hefty” solution is the way to go. They’d get a call or an email telling them they can find their stuff by the curb, and how much time they have to retrieve it before garbage collection. If they want it, they’ll come get it.

One man’s trash, as the saying goes, is another man’s treasure. If they want their treasure, they’ll come get it. Otherwise, it’s trash, and I’m going to make it clear that I don’t want it, and assume they don’t want it either.

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