Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.
Woe is me.
Until 3 months ago Mrs GOF was not interested in the internet.
Then she bought a new-fangled mobile phone primarily to
annoy text all her relatives and friends around the world.
In order to finagle a single bar of mobile signal she has to take Nelson the snake-detector dog on a trek up through all the long grass in the paddock, then follow the dirt track another kilometre to the top of a hill. This she does quite happily twice a day with umbrella, bag of lychees and phone in hand.
And yea, Mrs GOF didst also open the mysterious portal of temptation and walk into the valley of the internets, whereupon the Cyber God verily spake unto her with offers of free cars and cash and handsome young men, and showeth her pictures, and lo, she was very happy.
Yesterday Mrs GOF discovered “The Bucket”.
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Apology, Retraction and correction (# 1 of 47)
I hereby apologise for all the times when I surfaced from my labyrinth of journalistic sewers and posted questionable “Mrs GOF” stories.
I will never again use the word “junk” in the same sentence as “Mrs GOF”. All future public announcements about her tendency to collect assorted household items will instead include the phrase “Paraphernalia of Life”.
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Admittedly our house IS full of Mrs GOF’s
crap,……. sorry P.o.L., but it is not entirely what it seems to be at first glance.
Firstly, our home is small. Having only sixty square metres of floor space it tends to magnify the extent of her 30-year utensil and paraphernalia collection.
Whenever Mrs GOF travels to visit her brother in Minnesota I restore sufficient floor space to perform my morning gymnastic routine by hiring front-end loaders, dump trucks and squads of blonde cheerleader labourettes to clean out the accumulated surplus kitchenware, photography supplies and handy appliances.
When Inga comes home she also cuts swathes through the clutter of saucepans and “I-might-need-that-one-day” plastic containers to re-establish some bench space to pile up all her rations of TimTam chocolate biscuits, potato crisps and exotic liquor, but within days of Inga’s departure, Mrs GOF has re-populated every horizontal surface with a brand new generation of Chinese manufactured “essential” kitchen gadgets. “Every one of them has a purpose, GOF.”
We relentlessly tease Mrs GOF about all her stuff, but both Inga and I in our hearts understand why it is so.
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Mrs GOF is not a hoarder with any similarity to those who fueled the ratings on the Oprah Winfrey Show with their afflictions of affluence.
She had a childhood with very few possessions.
Two little skirts and blouses hand-sewn from remnant material by her Mum. A mat to sleep on the split-bamboo floor and a rolled-up family towel to use as a pillow.
That’s all. Nothing else.
No shoes. No toys. Her ‘doll’ was a scavenged empty beer bottle which she ‘dressed’ in her Dad’s handkerchief.
If she needed a ball to play with she either carved it out of the pith found inside tree-fern trunks, or had one made from a pig’s bladder.
Her Dad, employed on a remote Papua New Guinea Government Patrol Post, was paid the grand total of $1.50c per fortnight and provided with rations of rice, tinned fish, and margarine to supplement fresh food grown in the family subsistence garden.
Her Mum owned a frying pan, a small enamel billy-can and one very large saucepan which she suspended over an open hearth fire to cook for an immediate family of 15 as well as numerous extended-family members who often dropped in at meal times.
It is not wise to suggest to Mrs GOF that she grew up in poverty.
She will remind you that she never ever went hungry and that she was always surrounded by the love and support of family, and great cultural richness. Poverty, she says, is something altogether different.
So we understand why Mrs GOF now owns at least twenty five saucepans and cooking pots, along with enough crockery and cutlery to serve a five-course meal for an entourage of the International Olympic Committee complete with mistresses, corruption advisors and bribery collectors.
We know why she is reluctant to part with anything even though she rarely has to cater for more than four people, because Mrs GOF knows that one day, thirty itinerant relatives might just turn up unannounced for dinner just like they did when she was a kid.
If they do she will be prepared.
Additionally Mrs GOF always has our cupboards crammed full of tinned and preserved food and all the other provisions necessary to sustain us for at least 2 months in the event of something preventing us from making our weekly pilgrimage into the nearest town.
Once again, she is prepared.
Mrs GOF’s clutter is NOT about hoarding.
It is all about Preparedness.
If I am still around when our Western World’s consumerism limousine inevitably collides head-on with the semi-trailer of fiscal and environmental reality I suspect that I will be thankful to have Mrs GOF’s grass-roots life experience on my side.
And that, my friends, is the truth.
(apart from the paragraph about squads of cheerleaders….there was only ever ONE squad.)
With more good behaviour like this I should be allowed out on a short leash by the end of January.
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