Make A List: Confessions of A Hoarder

check-list-board 

By Bob Hazlett

I am a hoarder. Yes, I confess. You can’t tell it from my house, for it is not full of junk. In fact, I do pretty good at maintaining a junk free environment. But you would see it instantly if I let you see my hard drive. Yes, I hoard information.

“Print Screen,” “Screen Clipping,” and “Online Pictures” have opened the door for me to grab more and more information and squirrel It away, in the recesses of my laptop.

Your prompt for today “Make A List” gave me the incentive to dig into my hard drive and see what I could find. But wait. I don’t need a list. I have a list. In fact, I have many lists. I even have lists within lists. When reversed, that becomes Lists of Lists.

The drug that satisfies my addiction is “File Manager.” It lets me file documents within file folders and lets me file folders in other folders, ad nauseum. This whole process assumes I will remember the meaning of the cryptic names I gave to files and folders, which I never do … and that “I will read this someday” which I only do sometimes.

The hoarder fills up his house, then rents a storage locker. I remember the boom in storage lockers began over fifty years ago. So that means I am not alone. For me, the equivalent is external hard drives (I have three) and ‘the cloud(s).’ Again, I am not alone. There are many information hoarders.

I changed the prompt from “Make A List” to “Find A List” and “Review A List” and dug in. It was not a pleasant experience. What I found was the story of the last half of my life. I say last half because I am eighty years old. I had retired from my first career before the PC came on the scene. The internet came later, and the cloud later still.

My lists within lists correspond to the significant interests of my life, and they contain far more than I ever achieved. Which disappoints.

For several years, I was into Fly Fishing which led to Fly Tying. So my library there includes articles on fly fishing techniques, recipes for flies I wanted to tie, and locations I wanted to fish. I achieved a small fraction of that potential. As I click through the information in those files, I sadly realize that life isn’t long enough. Maybe, I’ll get to do more.

I have always loved travel. My motto is “Do nothing twice until you have done everything once.” My files here are somewhat specific because, for us, ‘travel’ became ‘RV Travel.’ My wife and I set out to explore the US in our Fifth Wheel. So, the list divides roughly into RV Care and Maintenance, places to visit, and work camping. Each of those chock full of information on possible adventures – some achieved, some not.

Travel led to travel writing which led to creative writing in general. I have been writing all my life, but it has been technical and business writing. Travel writing is no good without pictures. So my body of knowledge on Travel Writing includes lists and sub-lists on photography and cameras.

I ventured into creative writing almost as an afterthought. How hard could that be, right? My lists here are wide and deep. When you recognize that you know nothing, you grab everything. So my lists and sub-lists show my scattered search for information. The documents therein range from ebooks down to pdf files of short web articles and blog posts. The cryptic titles, forced by character limits, used to mean something. How long ago did I file this document?

Now did I ever make a list of all those documents that were so important I just had to print out that now sit in piles on the shelves in my office? Where is that article on punctuating dialogue?

Now here’s a question: What will Google do with all my lists and that collected information when I die? And how will they get permission to delete it?

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Word Count: 681

Prompt: Make A List

 

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