I’m a collector of odd things. Joe jokes that I’m a hoarder, but I’ve seen the documentaries, and don’t think it’s quite that serious.
But have you ever seen a discarded scrap of paper, picked it up, read it, and imagined who wrote it?
Well, I do. And I keep it as a momento of two people whose paths almost crossed.
For instance, I have this weird habit of pocketing lost grocery lists. I like to imagine the lives of these people, their eating and social habits, such as the author of my recent find:
Written onto a sheet of stationary, with the header: Elect Angela Rosenberry Krom for Judge… there was a link to Krom’s website at the bottom, and a disclaimer that this scrap of paper was paid for by the “Angela Krom for Judge Committee”.
Was this customer a supporter who attended a rally, perhaps a secretary or associate of Krom’s, or even Ms. Krom herself?
(I have no idea who Angela Krom is, as I no longer live in PA)
But the list included:
- Body wash
- Clorox Bleach Pen
- White Raw Hides
- and Bannanas [sic]
Would suggest an elderly person from Pennsylvania who often stains their clothes, has a penchant for eating bread, bannanas, and chewing on bones to sharpen their dentures…. of course, I could be mistaken.
However, isn’t it fun to speculate? I’ve often thought about crafting a silly list of my own, to “accidentally” leave on a store shelf for someone else’s voyeuristic amusement.
Another object I have a fondness for collecting are orphaned photographs of strangers. I once found a picture of a couple, at the bottom of the office desk drawer, when I was working at Ben Franklin Crafts in Winchester, VA.
I assumed that one of them was a former employee, who accidentally left the photo behind, but nobody recognized either of them.
Even the assistant manager who had been hired at the store’s opening didn’t remember them.
It’s a great mystery for me to contemplate, and a decade later, I still have the photograph… occasionally I’ll unearth it when I’m digging through my boxes of family photos, and wonder whether this couple is still together and what they might be doing. One day, I finally scanned it into my computer in case this poor couple gets lost again.
The most profound experience I had as a result of my “hobby” involved meeting a chorus of male drag performers.
“I wouldn’t want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I’d like it if he COULD be wicked and WOULDN’T.”
- Anne Shirley, from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of the Island”
I wonder why women idolize men struggling with inner demons?
We can’t blame Hollywood, and their brooding bad-boy heroes, because authors have been romanticizing tragic tales of tortured souls for hundreds of years.
Gatsby, Heathcliff, Frankenstein, Hamlet…
But true stories such as this – the murder of Yeardley Love by her estranged boyfriend, prompt me to lay my cards on the table in this blog post, which is highly difficult for me.
Admitting that I’ve been involved in volatile relationships is something I’d rather not confess, because I tend to seek control over my environment and I refuse to acquiesce to a demanding partner or boss.
Never the meek and humble “yessir” from me… I’m a fighter who seeks to balance the scales, at the very least. I would never acknowledge that I cannot handle my own circumstances – that someone else can overpower me, emotionally and physically.
I cannot allow myself to be considered a weakling or a failure.
Besides, airing personal drama has a tendency to backfire.
There is nothing worse than confiding to someone, and then watching your problems become the subject of ridicule and gossip amongst your so-called friends.
I’d rather put on a perpetual happy face and let their imaginations fill in the gaps… and believe me, they will concoct some wild stories!
I think people are afraid to admit that they’ve been abused or mistreated by their partners, because society still blames the victims. And for women like me, who adamantly refuse to be considered “victims”, the admission means we’re insecure and unable to stand our ground.
People will judge us for being too blinded by infatuation, or too naïve, to recognize the “warning signs” and for not getting outside help… but ironically, many of us do turn to our loved ones for advice, to find they are also in denial.
They mistakenly believe that if we “work harder at the marriage” or “avoid the anger triggers”, the relationship will improve.
But it won’t.