Monday, January 26, 2009

There's Someone For Everyone

I think I'm fairly convinced that there is someone out there for everyone. No matter what your little quirks may be, no matter how deranged you are, no matter if you're dumber than a box of hair, there is someone out there just for you, my friend! Just for you! And thanks to the wonderful invention of tubes and pipes that is otherwise known as the Internet, you actually have a fairly decent chance of finding that one person on the planet who will put up with your sorry ass. It doesn't matter what your interests are or what you, personally, are like, there are others out there like you. A passion for stamp collecting? They're out there. Crazy about model trains? They're out there. Fornicating with livestock? Unfortunately, they're out there too. (And from what I can tell, in disturbingly large numbers at that.) But the point is they're there! They're there and they're for you!

But alas, if only the Internet could always come to the rescue and salvation of those who need it the most. If it could have, things might have been different for at least two lives out there. Well, they were lives. Not so much anymore. And it's a shame. But they would have been perfect for each other with a capital 'P'. Per-fec-to.

A couple of weeks ago we heard the tale of a one Gordon Stewart who had died in his own home after becoming disoriented in the tunnels (yes, tunnels!) or garbage (yes, garbage!) that ran through his home (yes, his home!). He was unable to find his way out of his Habitrail of Refuse and, sadly, died in there. The man had a hard time parting with things, he did. He didn't throw anything away and always came home with more stuff. (That information gleaned from his neighbors who were less than helpful due to their inability to supply useful information during the interview process.) Bags upon bags and piles upon piles of stuff, stuff and more stuff.

Now, the mind of a hoarder is an interesting one. As you would imagine, it's very full in there! I don't know what it is that compels them to keep every single thing ever, to the point where they are crawling around through a maze-like structure in their own home as if it were some trash labyrinth over there in Greece (minus the Minotaur and naked warriors). Whatever it is, I'm sure that it's the same sort of compulsion that drives another sort of hoarder to shop and shop and keep on shopping. Right up until the inevitable, and in this case, deadly, little slogan comes to mind. That's right. Shop 'til you drop. Or until things drop on you. Either way, after it happens, you're dead. And buried. But not in the ground. No, underneath the stuff in your own house that fell on top of you and killed you. Wait. What?

Correct. Another death attributable to the inexplicable hoarding of more stuff than any one person (or any one small third world country) should ever have in their lifetime. Now, the Mail Online has taken to referring to a one 77-year old Joan Cunnane as "The Spinster Shopaholic". (I don't think I will be following suit, but figured I'd throw it in because, well, it is kinda funny.) And really, that sort of an unflattering moniker is really unnecessary as she's dead and not by what I would call "natural causes" either. No, this sweet looking older woman was crushed by a falling tower of suitcases in her home when she went into a way too full closet to look for God only knows what. What ever it was, she definitely didn't see the toppling suitcases right before they crushed her.

She had crammed so much crap into her bungalow that she only had a 2 foot wide path to get around. And as wrong as that sounds, I'm giving her credit for not having tunnels! That's a good thing! Naturally, she had a garage filled to the top with stuff AND she also took the extra step of having her CAR also piled full of stuff. Sort of like a portable storage unit.

Initially, when the cops went in they did not find her. (The neighbors became concerned because her car, which was usually tooling her off to purchase more items she didn't need, had sat in her driveway for a day. So that means that every single day she was off shopping and buying. Ugh. I can barely bring myself to leave the house to go Christmas shopping. I can't imagine going willingly every day. I'd have to shoot myself. Or wait until a stack of suitcases fell on to of me. Either one.) They couldn't find her why? Too much stuff, that is correct.

Now, I've been known to have a difficult time finding my car keys on occasion. Sometimes it's because the joint is a mess. (Sometimes it's because I'm a moron and my keys are in my pocket.) And it is frustrating as hell looking for a set of keys in a place that has more than 2 feet wide paths to walk through! And when they're found, they're usually next to something that has obscured my view. But they're keys! Little keys. The cops had their view so obscured in this lady's home that it didn't impair them from finding keys, it impaired them from finding HER. The lady! When you can't find a whole human being in your place, it's time to get a Swiffer or call Merry Maids or something because there's an issue!

When the cops initially could not find her "An expert search team and environmental health officers were also called in to help." Translation: Environmental Health = Hazmat. Also, "There was stuff in every room - it was so bad there were concerns about the police dogs going in." They think that they were concerned about the dogs going in? How do you think the dogs felt? They went in once and sniffed around and the dogs who are trained to sniff couldn't sniff her out from under all of that stuff. (Which kind of makes me wonder how effective these dogs are. Aren't they supposed to sniff things out that can't be seen? I don't need a sniffing dog to help me find someone that I can see! But if they can't find the ones I can't see, what good are they? Did they fire these dogs after this debacle?)

According to the name callers at the Mail Online, "The house was stacked with brand-new umbrellas, candles, ornaments, trinkets, clothes and electrical items, many of them unopened, as well as piles of videotapes." Videotapes? Good Lord, ma'am. Couldn't you have at least hoarded stuff from this century? DVDs perhaps? Maybe a cache of memory sticks? Did she have a pallet of Beta tapes also? Some 8-tracks (complete with all of the K-TEL collections)? Videotapes. Go figure.

A one Ray Moran, who describes himself as her closest friend (Translation: Probably doing it. Just on occasion! Nothing wrong with that.), said, "I think it just gave her pleasure to buy things - none of it was really essential. I once asked her how many scarves she had. She said she thought about 300. I asked her why she needed that many. She said they were all different colours." You think? You really think she enjoyed buying all of that stuff? You're sure she wasn't going out and willingly torturing herself every single day by buying stuff? Of course she enjoyed it! Why must people state the obvious or the ridiculous when quoted for these stories? Yes, we gathered she enjoyed shopping for things when we read she had been smashed by suitcases! We got it! (300 scarves? Was she learning how to do magic as well? Did they find a stash of "How To" books?)

It once took four hours and a neighbor's help to empty Ms. Cunnane's car out when it had to go have some work done. The neighbor said that, "There were six umbrellas, ornaments, pots, IKEA candle holders and an oil heater which was very heavy." (Enough with the weights and measures. Relevance? Oh, right. None! Stop it.)The neighbor also that that, "....Miss Cunnane was a deeply private lady who would not even open the door to the postman." Um, no. Not quite. Let me rephrase. Miss Cunnane was a lady who was embarrassed by the amount of stuff that she had purchased and would not open the door for the postman because she couldn't due to all of the stuff that was in the way. Yeah, it's amazing how people that are embarrassed or ashamed don't exactly go around advertising it and tend to withdraw away from others. (Which really doesn't sound like a bad idea, as most people are morons.)

Now, in the picture of her in her Deals on Wheels car there, I'm confused by what appears to be a backpack of some sort up against the windshield, on top of the steering wheel on the driver's side of the vehicle. Why is that there? What is it? How can she see? And while I'm at it, why was someone taking a picture of her in her car like that? Who does that?

The point here, other than never have so much stuff that the cops won't be able to find your body, is that this woman, this seemingly nice, friendly woman was lonely. And she went out shopping to fill that void. Why she couldn't just go out, look around and then go back home is beyond me. But if she had managed to hook up with the Mole Man, they would have been a match made in Hoarder's Heaven! Granted, there wouldn't have been a place big enough for the both of them and all of their stuff. And it's hard to say how she would take to all of the crawling around his place, but I highly doubt she'd be judgmental about it. She probably just would have been happy to have someone to talk to. These two would have been perfect. It's a shame they couldn't have hooked up whilst they were down here corralling their containers of crap.

What have we learned? I think we've learned that if you're going to hoard so much crap that it could eventually play a major role in your ultimate demise, always carry your cell phone with you. Oh, and check the Internet for other hoarders in your area because if you guys are lonely (and how could you not be, as you can't even make it out of your house in time to save your life!) I don't know how else you're ever going to find someone else that you can be comfortable with. (Actually, I don't know how you folks can ever get comfortable surrounded by thousands of videotapes. That makes me uncomfortable just thinking about it.)

The Internet. Is there anything it can't do?

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