And then reality sinks in and the hoarder starts feeling the pressure of all those hazmat-suited people picking through their precious collection and throwing things into the back of a truck. A freakout threatens. The psychologist steps in, warning the cleanup team to slow down and let the hoarder see what’s being put into the truck, the yard sale pile, the donate pile and the back of the Animal Control truck. So in the midst of mind-blowing, soul-crushing, ceiling-high, floor-rotting piles of used Depends, pets (dead and/or alive), vermin, spoiled food, papers, books, toys crusted with filth, clothing and kitchen gadgets with the tags still on and dangerous rusty appliances, the hoarder begins delicately picking through each . . . and . . . every . . . item . . . one . . . by . . . one. EVERY SINGLE TINY THING, no matter how disgusting. They can’t seem to prioritize between a food wrapper from 1997 and a current asthma prescription. It is painful to watch. They’re moving at a hopeless pace. You can clearly see that the action the hoarder is taking is not going to fix the problem in this lifetime. You want to yell “No, don’t!” at the tv, like when you’re watching a horror movie and somebody stands with their back to a window.
Well there’s a hoarder in my head. She works the midnight shift. She carefully picks through each and every piece of debris that has come through during the day, and instead of throwing away the obvious trash, she saves it to worry about later. She rummages through dark corners I had forgotten about (or wanted to forget about) and piles of things I meant to throw away but never did. She wakes me up at 3 a.m. to say “Hey, look what I just found! It’s that thing you said today, you know, the thing you thought maybe you shouldn’t say but you did anyway and it seemed funny but it was just stupid. Haha. Way to go!” She asks what I’m going to wear tomorrow, makes fun of it, and then suggests to the Worst Accountant Ever in my head that we should all go shopping. (Of course the Worst Accountant Ever agrees, as usual, without consulting my bank account. More on that in the future.) She’s loud, mean and relentless. She must be guzzling espresso up there. Her favorite stash is the tidy, labeled photo albums she keeps about me with names like Things I Wish I’d Done Differently, Diseases and Conditions I Will Probably Die From, People Who Hurt Me, People I Hurt, Why Did I Eat That (Volumes 1-3), and Crap I Wasted Money On. There’s a special album called Stuff I Forgot to Do Today--that one is like Snapchat, it disappears before the next morning when I could actually correct the problem. The past, present and future are all fair game for the Hoarder.
I am working on a way to throw her out, or at least tame her. If I can get her to use her powers for good, like reminding me of useful things and offering encouragement, I could tolerate having her around. Burn those photo albums and start new ones, like People I Love, Nature, Favorite Music, Times God Snatched Me Up Out of the Path of a Speeding Truck and I Didn’t Even Know It—those would be some good things to look through. Hoarder, I know your game and your days are numbered. Clean up or get bulldozed.