Greedy? Well, maybe
The other day, I set up a new CD rack to accommodate my ever-growing music collection.
My CDs now span an entire wall — albeit not a very big wall. And the racks are only a few feet high, so this isn’t as excessive as it sounds. But my CD collection is likely to keep growing and at some point I’ll need to get another rack, and then what will I do? I’m running out of room for my CDs. And the situation is only going to get worse, not better.
One option, of course, is to stop buying CDs altogether and stream everything on my computer. I’m not quite ready to make that step, despite eye-rolling from friends who are opposed to things like clutter. I happen to like having a large CD collection, and I’m always updating my list of music, both new and old, that I want to acquire.
Years ago, my mother questioned the size of my CD collection. Which is funny, because it was so much smaller back then. She said, “Don’t you think you own enough CDs?” My mother might as well have been speaking another language. The idea that there was a limit to how much music one could, or should, own just didn’t make any sense to me.
Perhaps I’ll see things differently when I get to be my parents’ age. They don’t own a lot of CDs but they keep making noises about wanting to reduce the number of books they own — something beyond my comprehension.
The knitting group I attend recently held a book exchange, and people were invited to bring books they no longer wanted and exchange them for books they hadn’t read. I studied my books, and determined that I didn’t want to get rid of any of them. Despite my lack of contributions to the book exchange, I was allowed to take books for myself, and I happily grabbed two, one of which, Bill McKibben’s “The Age of Missing Information,” I had already read but wanted to own for myself.
My hoarding of books and CDs had led me to conclude that I’m a greedy person.
If I like something, I want more of it.
I never look at my bookcases or CD racks and feel satisfied with what I own. Instead, I think, “What else is out there?”
The same is true of concerts.
I’ve been on a real concert spree in the past month, managing to catch Jane’s Addiction at the Palace Theatre, John Zorn and Colin Stetson at EMPAC and the Icelandic folk-rock band Of Monsters and Men at Jillian’s. This spree hit its apex last Sunday, when I saw the awesome Americana band The Avett Brothers at the Palace. Technically, it was my third concert of the weekend — I watched my friend Kim sing with the local roots duo the Lost Radio Rounders on Friday, and caught the anarchic Star Spangled Washboard Band on Saturday.
Did all this activity make me tired of going to concerts?
No, of course not.
It had the opposite effect: It made me feel like going to more, though every once in awhile I could hear the voice of my mother, asking, “Haven’t you been to enough concerts lately?” On Monday morning, I scanned local websites for concert announcements and event reminders, finally deciding to go to EMPAC on Friday for a screening of the documentary “We Have an Anchor,” which features musicians from bands such as Fugazi and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
My greed extends beyond the arts.
Last weekend, my friend Zach from college emailed to say that he would be traveling through Albany on Wednesday morning, and to see whether I wanted to meet him for coffee. I’ve been meaning to catch up with Zach for a while, and after checking my schedule and moving some things around, I was able to spend about an hour and fifteen minutes with him.
It was a wonderful visit, but way too short; rather than satisfying my need to catch up with Zach, it just made me feel like seeing him more. When Zach told me that he and his wife go to the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival every year, and that I should join them, I said, “OK. Pencil me in.” But the winter carnival isn’t until February, which is a long way off.
“I think we should get together before then,” I said. Zach agreed.
This is a reaction I often have when I visit with old friends — that I’d like to see them more.
Sometimes it’s possible and sometimes it’s not, but my approach to it is similar to my approach to books or CDs — it often feels like there’s a list in my head, of people I need to touch base with and make plans with. This weekend I’m headed to Syracuse to catch up with some other friends I haven’t seen for a while, and I’m going to my college reunion at the end of May. And if I had more time and money, I’d plan even more trips.
I once heard my mom suggest that someone was having “too much fun,” which baffled me. Was it really possible to have too much fun? Back then, I certainly didn’t think so. Now that I’m a little older, I sometimes wonder. Will I ever be satisfied with my music and books and socializing? Or will I always want more?
Perhaps one day I’ll be like my parents, more interested in downsizing.
But for right now, I like the busyness and clutter.
Foss Forward makes a weekly appearance in print, in The Gazette’s Saturday Lifestyles section. You can email Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.