Maybe it was doing the takedown of my father’s household the past several weeks, but doing so has sensitized me to how much stuff we have. Not that he and my mom had too much; they worked hard and made do and acquired what they needed to live. Still, among the household effects are several duplications that made me look at the extras I have in my life. I tell myself that some of these are necessary given the lives we lead, but then again I think some of it is wretched excess.
For example, we have three cars for two drivers (we used to have four). It’s nice having an extra car when one’s in the shop or a friend needs a car. But is it too much?
We also have eight vacuum cleaners. I have to admit to a certain obsession with vacuum cleaners, but eight does seem excessive. I console myself with the thought that they’re all different and they serve different purposes. The Oreck upright is great on carpets; our 37-year-old Electrolux is versatile; then we have the Dustbuster for small spills, the Oreck car vac (noisy but weak), the Oreck Electric Broom (presently in need of battery), an Oreck portable (powerful for its size) and the wet/dry vac (useful in…well, wet and dry situations), and the central vac (still cooking along after 43 years). See? It’s a subtle trap. One day you’re vacuuming along, happy with your aqua-themed Electrolux and then you start thinking you’d like to have an Oreck. One thing leads to another…
We also have five working computers. Once again, I can justify them all. The one I’m typing on now, Big Mama, does everything and does it well and without complaint. Then there is Little Mama,an HP of a certain age that stores pictures (yes, I have them backed up) and runs like cold molasses in January; Mr. Laptop was a gift from my brother which has done excellent service, especially with recording practice tracks; then there’s Mlle. Le Nettoyant, which means “Miss Cleansing,” which sounds like Mr. Clean’s French niece. I call it that because it is a netbook and “nettoyant” has “net” in it. It just sounds right. Anyhow, she’s great for travel and taking notes. The newest member of the family is Mr. Pirate, a Toshiba laptop I got since we both frequently need to be on the computer at the same time. Mr. Pirate is named out of recognition that Becky is an alumna of ECU home of the fighting Pirates and that pirates are a constant theme in Manassas Chorale rehearsal. Singers never sing the consonant “r” in choral music. They substitute a more pleasing “ah.” Becky is constantly reminding us to “take the ‘r’ out!” We of course respond like pirates by going “ARRRRR!” It’s impressive and a little scary coming from 100 singers.
And then, lastly, I have nine acoustic guitars. Each one is different, but I can only play them one at a time. I tell myself I’m a collector, but I wonder. With all this excess, what am I? I’m just sayin’, and I’m just thinking.