Until hitting the nadir of my hoarding tendencies last year, whenever anything even slightly caught my fancy, I’d usually want to have it. While not particularly weird, I have at least one road turtle, and I was tempted to take home another one today. The thing that stopped me today wasn’t whether I could legally own it – sure, that’s a concern, too – but more that I couldn’t answer one question: why should I take it?
What value would it add to my life?
Other than a curious, provocative paperweight, its primary value might just be remembering a nice pleasant hike through some of the areas surrounding the apartment-mansion on random Saturday afternoon. That’s not particularly interesting to me. I don’t collect random junk anymore, so it wouldn’t fit anywhere related to anything I do choose to keep owning.
Would it be fun to own?
If I’d answered that question years ago, sure. It’d be a quirky object. Now, it’s just something to be in the way or to take up space in a box at its best and most moral-free, and at its worst, it’d be an object of some kind of minor theft of public property. Why should I feel comfortable with such innocuous lawbreaking? Would the story be different if I were on a tour of some road development company where they might either produce or test such devices and they offered this as a souvenir?
No. I still have too much stuff to sort through.
As I look around the apartment-mansion, I am surrounded by objects that are like this road turtle I could have picked up – objects with some kind of mild curiosity that ended up attaching themselves to me in some way, and now that I’m trimming off all the fat I can before I need to cut through the bone to reduce what I own so I can focus on doing things I’d rather be doing instead of not, I realize that objects like this are ubiquitous but meaningless.
Receiving one as a gift would hold more value.
A gifted road turtle would represent the consideration from one person to another, which would be more special than just a randomly acquired object during a random day that represented a random series of events that have some more significant value than nothing. Even those gifts can, with time, filter away to some anonymous box somewhere. The objects we should still own should either have outstanding aesthetic, particular nostalgia, or specific utility.
What’s the point, otherwise?
If the intent was to capture that moment, this photo showing the lustrous blue lights cast against the bright red paint from the warm summer heat with the straw grass and pavement that’s not yet past its shelf life is a better simulacrum of that day than any physical object. The photo captures all of that energy from the day, from the lighting to the textures, without the burden of owning something without much tangible purpose.
Don’t take any crap.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Riffing on looking at the idea of “shouldn’t take it” from two perspectives – taking crap from others and adding crap to one’s abode – was a fun little way of saying how when we hoard objects, we tend to hoard our experiences as well.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: The blue ones are something about the police.|
|Written On: June 29th [30 minutes in a completely exhausted daze]|
|Last Edited: June 29th [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|