Once again, I am inspired to continue a story I started in a comment from earlier this week. I have mentioned in the past that Malaysia is an incredibly easy place to live, perhaps even too easy. However, this does not seem to stop me from my compulsive stockpiling of non-perishable food/toiletry items. I’m not really sure where or how I learned this behavior, but it reaches far back to my university days as well.
Back in my first weeks at UConn, before anyone really got to know me, my new friends would look with shock and surprise at the plastic containers full of ramen, granola bars, fruit roll ups (I love fruit roll ups, why don’t they make them the same as they used to?), and other non-perishable snacks; alongside other plastic containers full of deodorant, shampoo, soaps, and other toiletries I could not live without, that I stored under my bed. Did I ever actually eat these snacks or get to use up all those toiletries: No. I usually gave away or hoarded all my snacks until the last few days of school and then would have a feast with my friends. And I think a few of those bars of deodorant have followed me through Munich, and all the way to Malaysia, and are now resting comfortably with the 15 other bars I have been steadily building up over the last 7 years.
I realize this sounds a little bizarre, so let me tell you a story that may explain some of this mystery. This story actually takes place in 1999, so it is not an explanation for my years at university, which started in 1995, but I believe the facts contained in the story may have been an influence long before they became so obvious. Let me begin:
The year is 1999. My mother is in charge of the Y2K conversion for all IBM offices in Europe. The depth of concern and confusion surrounding the possible effects of Y2K is on the news 24 hours a day. People are building bomb shelters in their basements for fear of the entire world simply exploding upon this “new century.” My mother has become so involved with this Y2K scare that in, oh, let’s say, January of 1999, she starts stockpiling water. We have an entire closet full of Poland Springs water by the time I go back to UConn after Christmas break (mid-January). I come home in the summer, and all three pantries in our kitchen are filled to the brim with non-perishable items: canned soups, canned fruits, pasta, and, of course, more water. The panic continues to rise. My mother considers purchasing a generator and wood burning stove in case the world shuts down on Jan 1 2000. We have six months to go….
Fast forward 6 and half years….
Last summer when I was home, I drank water from 1999. We still have bottles of water that we have not been able to finish from almost seven years ago. Now that’s stockpiling.
Now I’m not saying that witnessing that particular paranoia caused me to be the stockpiler that I am today, but I’m thinking there might have been more subtle tendencies in my household before 1999. And, that, perhaps, is the root of my obsession.
At this point I think I have 4 jars of pickles in our kitchen cabinets, at least 15 bars of deodorant in the bathroom, easily 2 pounds of cotton balls stored in the “linen closet” (a term I use loosely to mean: the area in my bedroom, underneath a random shelf, which is slightly out of sight and has no other visible use), a collection of about 400 empty DVD cases (since I’ve put the actual DVDs into those cute little binders they have here), and every magazine I’ve ever purchased in the spare closet in our 2nd bedroom.
To give myself a little credit, some of this stockpiling habit has come from living abroad. There were quite a large number of things I simply couldn’t get in Germany (surprising, I know, but true). I believe that only furthered my desire to create a whole warehouse full of superkimbo favorites. Why go out to shop, when I can just rifle through my cabinets to find that one extra bottle of face wash I bought in 1997?
So, you need something non-perishable? Looking for a back issue of national Geographic from 2001? Can’t find that specific brand of hair gel? Don’t bother going to the store, just stop by my (ware)house. I’m sure I’ve got a few extras lying around 😉
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