“We, who move through this world, have varied gifts,” said the angelic figure who saw the world without time.
She could hold infinite temporal cross-sections in her mind at once. Though she usually focused on one time at a time as you and i might focus our vision on a bird sitting on a lamp post — knowing that one can shift one’s visual attention at will.
Her mind snaps from mundane moments to the nearest frenetic second — be it tragic or festive. Just as your eye would snap from the bird on the lamp post to a furry canine shape, trotting into one’s periphery; her mind snapped to the “good part” of the story.
While you may think yourself either alive or dead, to her you are a Schrödinger’s cat of both alive and dead, but her mind always wants to snap to the second of transformation.
Straight out of college, my first job involved strolling into the homes of strangers. This is when I learned about hoarding. Turns out, you don’t have to venture into many American homes before you stumble into a full-blown hoarder’s lair. I don’t mean a messy home. There’s no moderated middle for hoarders. If it’s not floor-to-ceiling chaos, you’re just a slob — not really a hoarder. [Oddly enough, “hoarder’ sounds less offensive than slob, but it’s worse… much worse.]
The occupant of the first hoarder-labyrinth I sidled into was an old lady who’d busted her hip slipping on a glossy magazine from an avalanche that had collapsed into the narrow, navigable canyons of her living room.
At the time, I couldn’t understand the impulse to hoard. I’ve never clung to used up material objects. For me, books are the closest thing to a precious, inanimate object, but they’re like soup bones — once one has sucked the marrow out of them, they just take up space and gather dust. [With precious few exceptions that are uniquely-shaped and -sized for a task like opening a beer bottle or clubbing an intruder.]
Still, if I’m to be honest, I’m an ethereal hoarder. All that page-extracted marrow is clogging up my mental attic. I don’t know that I even have narrow, navigable canyons at this point. Too often, it’s a soul-crushing slog to schlep one of the few fine pieces out from storage. It may sound like a good problem to have until one realizes that a lot of it is rubbish, rubble, and remnants — no more useful than the broken-hip lady’s twelve-year-old newspapers, twenty-three year old Good Housekeeping magazines, or eight-track tape polka music collection.