An Open Letter to Hoarders

Dear Keepers of All Things,

Stop.

One day you are going to die and all your keeping will have come to nothing. Your legacy will be just a bunch of useless stuff that your next of kin has to try and fit into a skip they ordered in the hope there'd be enough room to get rid of a rusty old trampoline that sits down the bottom of the yard, acting as a daycare centre for local cats.

He who dies with the most toys, back-copies of RACV magazine, lawn mower engines, spare blankets, non-specific occasional sporting goods and small items made to inhabit ledges, still dies. 

Look, the hoarding gene is probably genetic. There's not much you can do about that. Maybe it is something we should screen for at birth so that those around the little future-hoarder can take precautionary steps. Steps that include avoiding exposure to garage sales (good move for anyone really), never asking for help with spring clean-outs, avoiding leaving the house on hard rubbish night and blocking IP access to eBay and GumTree.

You need to understand is that hoarding doesn't just impact your quality of life, but the lives of those around you. How can one's house look like an IKEA catalogue when an entire wall of a room is devoted to storing all previous versions of said catalogue for 'future inspiration'?

Your hoarding isn't just about keeping stuff that you don't want to part with, it's also about collecting and hoarding stuff on behalf of others. Whether that need is real or assumed. My mother dumped upon me the other my entire collection of high school report cards that she'd been hoarding. It made for 20 minutes of entertaining reading but I have no need for them ever again. The experience has been had, the memory lives on and the clutter can be cleared.

A hoarder would see it differently though. The hoarding anxiety would kick in and the mind would start to fire - what if one day I am required to justify my suitability for CEO by providing a certified copy of my grades from Year 9 Textiles? What if I one day want to start my own private school and base the reporting structure of the 1990s Victorian curriculum? What if I one day am writing my memoirs and want to recall a quote from Year 8 Geography about my keenness for a smart comment and polo shirts? 

As an onlooker, you may find yourself reading this and wondering - am I a hoarder?

Here's a simple, quick test - do you keep your birthday cards?

If the answer is yes, then you are unfortunately too late. That is assuming you are not some sort of toddler-genius and can read quirky, rambling blog posts. If that is the case, then you still have some time to adjust your ways, but maybe learn to use the toilet first.

If you find yourself hoarding birthday cards that don't even belong to you, then you are probably struggling to read this amongst piles of old Tupperware containers that threaten to topple upon you at any moment. I know there are also cats roaming around in your vicinity, but that is for another post.

My appeal to you is to de-clutter. Not just your home, but your mind.  Clear from it any idea that another Belgian Waffle Maker from the ALDI sales basket will be any different from the two in your cupboard. Actually, while we are it- just keep clear away from ALDI! That place is for Hoarders, what a Jetstar flight is for travellers - relatively cheap but ultimately costly.

Yours in space,

Lach

An Open Letter to Procrastination

Dear Procrastination

As you know, this week I turn 35. Not that big a day on the scale of birthdays, except if like me you work in marketing. If you do happen to don the denim suit, heading into the studio each day (seriously who works in an 'office' these days) then you would know that those aged between 18 and 35 are in the desired 'youth' demographic. That means that I am about to enter into my last year of official youthdom.

You and I need to part ways. I have some living to do. But to do so, I'll have put in a mighty effort, like a conqueror of nations. A procasti-nation as it were...

I noticed I had a problem with you towards the end of last year. You know how I am trying to write that screenplay? The one that's more for my own personal creative fulfilment than for any Hollywood Studio (although if Judd Apatow is reading this and interested in a RomCom-investigative caper story in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite than he should reach out). I just haven't been able to get past page 15. It's not writers' block; quite the opposite. I mapped the whole thing out in a spreadsheet scene by scene. This is purely about you. Procrastination.

Lately, it seems like you are always around and it needs to stop. Seriously, I don't even like you. Case in point - after that last sentence I remembered my sister-in-law had gifted me a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and that I should open it. So I did. Rather than keep writing. I went to the cupboard and poured a glass. Somehow convincing myself that was what all tormented writers (and failed actors working in kids educational theatre) would do on a Wednesday night. It may have worked because I realised the rise of your presence in my life corresponded to the fading of my youth.

Could it be that as I age, I'll have more of a fear of getting on with living and doing, as the reality of there being less of life in front of me dawns? Will you dominate my persona to the point I won't even bother leaving the bed to shower or eat, hoping to compost away in my filth until I escape the chore of living altogether?

You are like arthritis of the mind. Turning up and ceasing the muscles of motivation. Flashing up trailers in my mind of shows I want to watch on Netflix, remembering that door handle I needed to fix or reminding me that such a thing as social media exists and I haven't checked in the last four minutes if Judd Apatow liked one of my tweets .

Even writing this post I am three days late to the keyboard. To avoid it I've made pumpkin soup, watched a Mel Gibson movie and taken a bubble bath. Sure, this may sound like a normal Sunday to some of you but not I! I am you and 34...for a few more days. There are things to do. They don't include experimenting with vegetable stock bases, understanding the cinematic vision of an anti-Semite catholic or wrinkling up with Mr Matey.

I look back on my life so far and wonder if I have achieved enough? Are there enough stories? Will the chapters of my memoirs entitled 'Youth' be the best bits? Or will it be more a book about overcoming feet fungus in your retirement years whilst travelling Scandinavia by kayak (I don't actually want to do that. Kayaking that is. The feet fungus thing is a no-brainer, should I ever suffer from it.)

So Procrastination. I point the finger at you. You are on notice. This year is going to count. I am going to summon up all my remaining youthful vigour and come at you like a kid on Wizz Fizz hitting a birthday party jumping castle.

To do this, I won't be posting here for while. Instead I will be deep in my script and hopefully Skyping with Mr Apatow about script development issues.

Stay tuned.

Lach


 

 

The H Holiday Part 2 - Hong Kong

The following is a 10 step guide to things that you should not do if you find yourself with 48 hours to spend in Hong Kong.

  1. Give up your spot in line for Little Bao.
    It can be tempting to abandon your place during the 30-45 minute standard wait time at Little Bao. You'll stand around with other foodies and scenesters from across the globe, a United Nations of foodstagramers, and start to doubt that a little rice bun wrapped around some Americana-inspired meat could be that great. Let me assure it is. It is like the ingredients got together in a protest against sex, puppies, AFL football, sunset campfires shared with loved ones, the voice of Dallas Green and anything else that is good in life, and said 'Let's show them what this life is really about!'
     
  2. Swim across the bay.
    Don't be daunted about how far across the Kowloon looks from Hong Kong island. There's no need to pull out the cap and goggles. Just jump on one of the many ferries for only $2.50HK. It was the cheapest scenic tourism experience I have since that time I stowed away in the back of a Coke truck and got a free tour of rural Russia.
     
  3. Expect the light show to be better than the one you did as a kid in your backyard with torches
    It won't be. Although you'll see amazing photos of a clear sky, filled with lasers that look like giant Jedi's are road testing new lightsabers, the reality is something different. It will be overcast, the "lasers" will be old searchlights left over from WW2 that need their globes changed and the music soundtrack accompanying the 'show' will be out of sync and straight from a Chinese dating show.
     
  4. Go to that outer neighbourhood read about in TimeOut in search of street art. 
    When you get there you will be underwhelmed at the peeling paste up that looks like it was done by Continuing Adult Education night class. Instead, hit up PMQ in the Soho area and check out a building's worth of amazing creativity that is bubbling away around the edges of Hong Kong culture.
     
  5. Think Starbucks is your only coffee option.
    If you find yourself in a Starbucks in Hong Kong it will be because you are either; American, desperate to use the toilet after those dodgy prawn dumplings at lunch or on a Tinder lunch date and this place was across the road from where you are working. If you aren't a citizen of a doomed country, able to control your bowel movements and spend your business trip seeing the local sites as opposed to the locals, then great coffee is yours for the taking. Elephant Grounds, The Cupping Room and the hard to find Artisan Cafe will keep you dosed right.
     
  6. Stay anywhere but Tuve Hotel.
    Who doesn't want to walk outside their door each morning and feel like they are on a shoot for Esquire or Vogue? This place is like a VR experience inside every design magazine or blog you have ever seen. It is all black steel, aluminium, white and bright spaces and exposed concrete. Everyone looks ten times more attractive, stylish and wealthy inside its walls. It is the Wonka factory of cool. Plus their little bathroom toiletries all smell great.
     
  7. Go into I.T and feel like the clothes you have on are remotely cool.
    It doesn't matter how good the Tuve hotel may have you feeling that, unless you are Kanye, I.T will make you feel as cool as a rotting cucumber left on the vine at a vegetable farm abandoned due to drought-related hardship. I imagine if you are Kanye (Hi Mr West, thanks for reading my stuff) this place would feel like Target. But for the rest of us, this mix of Japanese and Scandinavian designer streetwear is just so damn cool. It feels like security are there to act almost as bouncers, not letting anyone in the shop who doesn't look right, lest they detract from the mannequins.
     
  8. Expect your request for a flight upgrade will be denied.
    Look we didn't get one, but asking didn't get the same response it gets here in conservative Australia. The flight attendants of the major Hong Kong airline we were flying with genuinely checked and tried to see if an upgrade was available. Unfortunately, the flight was fully booked. In Australia, if you were to ask you'd almost be kicked off the flight and added to a terrorist watch list. It is as if asking is an affront to our notion of a classless society. Hong Kongers seem to think that if a seat is free, someone should be allowed to sit there. My point is; just ask. You never know what you may get. How do you think China got Hong Kong back from Britain?
     
  9. Think you can work on your screenplay whilst waiting for the train.
    This won't happen. Mostly because the trains are super efficient and arrive every 5 minutes. But, it also has something to do with the fact you can't move beyond page 17 and start the second act.
     
  10. Try and save money.
    Hong Kong is a super expensive place. Even the ATMs often will cost you more to use than what you take out. Real estate is so expensive in Hong Kong that a friend of a friend has started buying up broom cabinets in apartment complexes as a speculative property investment. Even the land local government rubbish bins sit on is worth more than the median house price in Brisbane. But the food, culture and energy you'll absorb will be worth every one of your Hong Kong dollars.