After waking up from a recent concussion, the thought crossed my mind that possibly, maybe, potentially, I had a problem.
The shoe that knocked me out came from the top shelf of my closet. It was a left shoe; the right one had been long gone — lost after a strange night out, an impossible bet, a terrible poker face and a lopsided walk home. I never threw out the present half because what if the pair’s missing side came back? You should never give up hope, they say.
Here are some things I’ve never given up, either:
– That jacket with the embroidered sleeves that has been three sizes too small for me for as long as I’ve known it
(But what if one day I have a child who would like to try it on?)
– This skirt that I once got at a thrift store: vintage, shiny, 80s Dior, tacky and mostly terrible
(But what if it trends again? Also, Dior.)
– Every white button down shirt regardless of missing buttons and/or the fact that at least 10 of them are no longer white
(But won’t they make for great painting shirts should I ever begin to paint?)
– A Benjamin Franklin wig-and-bald-spot
– A coconut bra
(In case I get tricked into attending a rave)
– And about 5 million other things that, though I never wear, possess the faintest possibility that I might.
At least half of them have caused closet-related injuries before. Deep inside my tiny two-foot wide cave of carefully-hung clothes live piles of sartorial miscellanea. They bow precariously like Dr. Seuss trees, teetering and threatening to crash down. One wrong yank and you’ve just lost a dangerous game of knitwear Jenga. One miscalculated reach and you’ve just won 52-shoe-pickup…which is how I got knocked out in the first place: because I am 5’3″ with a reckless habit of disturbing my Just-In-Case footwear (a compilation of the previously-mentioned Left Shoe, a pair of purple boots, plexiglass platforms) that live next to my back-up jeans, high above the in-rotation racks.
So there I lay. Flat on my back, regaining vision in my eyes, wondering if I had a problem. Just because I hide my overstocked secret (my room, at the surface level, appears to be neat and orderly) doesn’t mean this isn’t some form of TLC’s main source of income, hoarding.
But what if I’m actually just well-prepared? What if one day I do attend a rave, and the theme is not only “founding fathers,” but also “tropical”? What if I need those jeans, or that bag, or an extra toothbrush, and it’s an emergency? What if the situation finally presents itself with the textbook occasion to wear a polka dot puff sleeve top?
Hoarder or not, I think I’ll take my chances; err on the side of careful; fill in the holes preventatively (like Botox!) rather than panic in a time of need about what I lack. I feel more comfortable with that.
And though not physically dangerous but good for you to know about in case I do die next time: under my bed are boxes of novelty accessories (rabbit ears, a fanny pack), wearable tourist mementos and a stash of non-perishable snacks.
Survival kit bag by Preppi; Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.