The Barbarian Hoard

I have a guilty secret. Well, I actually have more than one, but this is the only one I’m willing to share online, at least currently. I have, in the past, made certain revelations on this site about things I’ve done that hitherto had been unknown to my family, like the time I buried Ken’s slippers in the garden in retaliation for his refusal to move them from the basement stairs (they were a TRIPPING HAZARD, KEN), or my attempt to put Kate’s beta fish, suffering from beta bloat disease, out of its misery by pouring a bottle of absinthe into its tank:

Kate: You killed my fish and I find out ON YOUR BLOG?!
Me: He was really sick! I didn’t want him to suffer. Besides I told you about it at the time.
Kate: I was five! What else have you murdered?

But this time I’m not destroying anyone’s blissful ignorance. No, this secret is more like a guilty pleasure, and it’s the fact that I’m obsessed with the show Hoarders. You know the one I mean—a group of “hoarding experts and organizers” descend upon the home of someone who has been deemed a hoarder in order to simultaneously cure them of their disorder and make their house livable again. There are thirteen seasons of this American show, but because I’m Canadian, I can only watch when the American specialty channels are having a free preview month. But even then, it’s all just the early seasons of rerun—I can easily recite right along with one of the…are they contestants?… participants?..: “I wouldn’t classify myself as a hoarder; I would consider myself more of a saver, a rescuer of things”, and then I yell back at the TV screen, “Nobody wants your garbage bag of dirty diapers, LINDA!” So last week, in a fit of both pique at having to watch the same Wife Swap commercial for the one thousandth time on Paramount (leave the goddamn cat alone, KEISHA!), I broke down and bought Season 13 of Hoarders on Apple TV. And I was in my glory.

But why do you watch Hoarders? I hear you asking. A) Don’t you have OCD? B) Isn’t this show extremely stressful for you? And the answer to those questions is A) Yes, I do and B) No, it’s not. Because the best part about Hoarders is at the end, when they get rid of all the stuff, clean the house, and then present it to the hoarder, who goes through and cries about how beautiful and spacious it is. And the rugs are all symmetrical and the table is set with all the corners perfectly perpendicular, and it’s such an amazing payoff at the end. It’s almost enough to make me want to become a professional organizer myself. But the thing about Season 13, and the reason I know I’d be terrible for someone who has hoarding disorder, is that Season 13 features several people who’ve hoarded some very nice things, unlike the mounds of trash, dirty diapers, dead animals, and moldy clothing that have been the mainstay of other seasons. I lay there night after night, watching antiques and paintings going into dumpsters and it’s awful. Can you just imagine me, with my antique booth and 47 clocks that don’t work, trying to help someone with hoarding disorder?

Dr. Zasio: Okay Diane, I’m so happy to see you letting go of all this furniture.
Me (whispers): That’s a mid-century Eames chair, Diane. I’d keep that if I were you. And why are you throwing away all those picture frames? Put some chalk paint on those bad boys and frame old quilt squares with them—ooh, a mantle clock!!
Diane: I want all my sh*t back!!

Yep, I’d be awful at any job that required me to watch perfectly good stuff go into a junk truck. In fact, big junk day is where I GET my perfectly good stuff. But then again, I’m highly motivated to get things, fix them up, and actually resell them because if I don’t, I get accused of being a hoarder myself:

Ken: Another clock? You’re a hoarder!
Me: It’s a really nice clock. Besides, I’d only be a hoarder if I had a closet full of broken clocks that I never looked at but couldn’t bring myself to throw away. Speaking of closets full of crap you never look at and won’t throw away, how’s the closet in your office? Still full of magazines from 1988?
Ken: I just found this really nice clock online that you might like!

I guess there’s a fine line between being a collector and being a hoarder. Either way, I’m pretty sure who the hoarder is at MY house:

My office (there are five clocks that don’t work in here, and one that does)
Ken’s Office (only one clock)