As we’ve established, I am a bit of a hoarder.
Not in the bags of hair and bottles of urine sense, but I do seem to carry a certain amount of clutter from place to place.
As well as the plastic bag from a butcher’s shop, I have an extensive collection of single cufflinks, despite only owning two shirts that take cufflinks.
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I also have a number of broken coffee mugs with sentimental value and a DVD called “my first ballet lesson” that neither of us claim to own, but has been with us through three house moves.
Apparently, there’s an awful woman on the internet that can help you with this sort of thing, but I would rather remain my slovenly self than become an acolyte of some dead-eyed YouTube sensation with marigolds and narcissistic personality disorder.
I’ve decided to become comfortable with my ways, as I slide gracelessly into middle age, in fact I’m working on a number of eccentricities and affections that I plan to bring out with each milestone birthday. I might start wearing an eye patch.
The area of my life that is most cluttered is my digital world. I have a several email inboxes, all of which have between two hundred and many thousand unread emails. Some people can’t abide those little red numbers on their phone, but for me they are reassuring little signs that people are still trying to contact me. Even if it is to sell me penis enlargement pills.
This digital clutter extends to my extensive collection of Facebook residents’ groups, built up over years of living in different places. I’ve got the “Urmston M41ers”, “Crouch End Appreciation Society”, “Southampton Memories”, “Putney and Wandsworth buy and sell”, our own “Canterbury Residents Group”, and bizarrely “Hampstead Mums” which a friend added me to.
There are certain things everyone has in common: bin collections, dog poo, parking and of course what time Asda closes. Because apparently all parts of the country have people who have discovered Facebook, but not Google.
In Urmston they are worried that all the shoe shops are being replaced with wine bars, in the creeping gentrification of South Manchester. In Southampton they want to know if anyone remembers the high diving board at the old swimming baths and someone in Wandsworth is selling a picture of an Xbox for £300.
Crouch End has another new restaurant, and several people either looking for lost cats or spiritual fulfilment through crystals, whilst a big debate in Hampstead is how to get three car seats into a Mercedes E-class.
The Canterbury Residents Group has been an absolute eye-opener and an education for me since moving here. Although at some points it did make us question our decision entirely. It’s unique, in my experience, and not just the three hundred daily Brexit posts.
It contains elements of all of the others I’ve seen, and much more. I’d go so far as to say it is a microcosm of Canterbury’s unique mix of people from so many diverse backgrounds, and at times really exemplifies the best of us. I wouldn’t say that on there, obviously…imagine the abuse I’d get.
In all seriousness, I do think it’s a genuinely great group and I think it should move to the next logical step and start meeting in real life. I mean, I wouldn’t go obviously, but I’d love to watch the video on Facebook.