My name is Katie and I have a problem.
I've never smoked, I don't do drugs, I don't drink to excess (especially in comparison to Russians...yes, it is a stereotype but aren't most stereotypes rooted in truth?) ... I never really thought of myself as a person with addictions. Unless its to peanut butter. But sadly, that has fallen by the wayside since moving here. Anyways...
Apparently I DO have a problem. According to a quiz I took with my student Oleysa today, I AM A HOARDER.
It shames me to admit this to everyone. "Hoarder" has a horrible connotation, dredging up visuals of dirty, crazy cat ladies or sad, pathetic old men who fill their houses with so much garbage that they have to dig a tunnel through it all to get to the little corner of space where they sleep. I swear, I'm not like that. I'm not that bad. *Note of desperation creeps into voice*
In all seriousness, though, Oleysa and I were reading an article today about various people and their hoarding habits. One man hoarded lizards (!) of all things, and then one day the police came into his house to discover the lizards feasting on the poor guy's corpse. As you can imagine, this article was incredibly disturbing.
At the end, there was this cheery little quiz - Are YOU a hoarder? It asked. Pfff, obviously not, I thought to myself smugly. But then we started filling out the quiz...
Do you keep:
- plastic bags? (Yes. But only because I re-use them at the grocery store, so that's ok, right? I'm environmentally conscious!)
- bags from fashionable shops? (Um. Yes. I am a tad pretentious, I suppose. But the bags are usually really cool and stylish, and you can use them again...)
Oleysa started giving me weird looks at this point...
- empty wine bottles? (Hah! No! I exclaimed exuberantly, relieved to find something I didn't hoard. But then...wait a second...I remembered the two cat-shaped bottles of wine I kept from a few years ago to use as a decoration in my bedroom...hoarding cat-shaped wine bottles? Does it get any more pathetic than that? I'm starting to look like a hoarding alcoholic cat lady now!)
- empty jam jars? (No. Seriously. I hate jam. Score one for me, by default)
- old clothes? (Sigh. Guilty. But I LOOOOVE clothes. And you never know when something's going to come back in style, right? "Even if it's twenty years later?" Oleysa asked me, raising her eyebrows. Hmm. Good point. But this will take some coming around to. Which means my piles of clothes I was forced to leave back in Canada are NOT fair game to sisters or mothers! :)
- old newspapers? (Again, yes. But...putting on a pompous, "all for posterity's sake" voice, I am really just selflessly helping out the future generation of historians here by holding onto newspapers from important dates in history. I kept the front page of the paper from September 11, 2001, for example. And my great-grandmother kept the front page from November, 1947 - Queen Elizabeth's wedding! I have it framed in my bedroom. So maybe I come by my hoarding tendencies legitimately?)
- old magazines? (You never know when you might want to read some recycled fashion tips for a laugh. Or use in an art project. Or donate to a musuem in fifty years. Or...)
- pens? (Pfff. What kind of loser hoards pens?)
- ticket stubs, theatre programmes, etc? (But they're mementos! Important artifacts! Perfect to use if I ever get around to scrapbooking!)
Okay, so as you can see, out of the list of possible hoarding items, I hoard all but two. This is pathetic. Oleysa was laughing while we were going through the list, but it was definitely the laughing AT you kind of laugh.
I've gotten a lot better since coming to Russia, because I basically had to fit my life into two suitcases for a year. I assure you, I don't have to crawl through a tunnel of rubbish to make it to my bed. I'm totally fine with the limited amount of clothes I packed for here, and I have only held on to ONE vodka bottle and a few ticket stubs (but those are so easy to ferret away! They hardly take up any space! Hmm...justifying my behaviour again) Most importantly, however, there are absolutely NO cats or lizards here.
This is progress, people!!