I was conversing with a neighbour this morning, who’s just moved into a new house a whole block and a half away from the house she used to live in. We were discussing gardening (I have an established garden, she’s planning what to do with her handkerchief of a courtyard).
We moved from admiring remarks about the garden of the house across the road from her new house, to her mentioning how that gardener’s brother used to be the now-deceased guy in the next street who always had “rescued” scrap-merchant type stuff tied to a roofrack on his car, to discussing the obsessive collector phenomenon in general. We spoke of those people who end up building a home extension just so that they have room to “properly” display their collection of teapots, or those who devote a whole spare room to a model train layout (the only type of collector with whom mr tog has any sympathy).
I mentioned that at one time I collected figurines and artwork of dragons, but I’d got to the stage where I didn’t want any more and people kept giving them to me (often sadly kitschy cute ones that weren’t my style at all to boot). My sister got the same with with her once upon a time owl collection – she just got over it. After all, they just collect dust and take up space that could be used for other things.
My neighbour said she ended up with a collection she never even wanted at all, just from people’s assumptions. A friend once gave her a little set of African animal figurines as a thank-you gift which she decided to display on the mantelpiece. The next time her birthday came around, she got about 5 different small animals from people “to add to your collection”. 10 years later, there was no room on the mantel for anything but miniature animal figurines, none of which she had ever wanted, and many of which (unlike the original African figurines) were appallingly lacking in actual artistic value. She’s very happy that the new house has no mantelpiece (no fireplace).
We decided that this was the Law of Unintended Multiplication – if people think you are a collector of a certain thing, then they tend to give you more of it than you ever expected to own.
In light of his discovery of this Law, mr tog would like to make it known that he has begun a Maserati collection.