Sometimes I find it amazing that people can grow attached to meaningless inanimate objects. Me included. This thought pops into my head because of a crock pot. There is a pretty meaningless inanimate object if there ever was one. I’m not even sure how long ago I bought this crock pot. It might be ten or fifteen years ago. I’ve lost track. I originally bought it to keep my chili warm at my annual barbecue. Of course I cooked the chili in it too but I could already do that on the stove top. I now prefer to cook it in the crock pot but keeping the chili warm all day was the original motivation for purchase.

I’ve been meaning to replace that crock pot for a while now. The ceramic bowl that holds the food had developed some cracks over the years. Not surface cracks either. Some go right through to the bottom of the pot. It was still solid and didn’t leak or anything but it looked like trouble sooner or latter. I certainly didn’t want it to break in the middle of cooking something.

So this annual barbecue I decided to get a new crock pot and I did. I usually make two different types of chili and therefore have a second smaller crockpot to keep the second batch hot. I left the small crock pot in the closet and used the cracked one for the last time. I figured I may as well throw it away dirty. The crock pot did its duty well that last time. The party was over and I left it outside for the rain to clean a little before I threw it away.

I was planning all along to break the crock pot up to make it smaller to throw away. I do this all the time with stuff. I like my garbage to be compact, neat, and easy for the garbage men to handle. I find this avoids messes on garbage pick-up days. Messes that either I or the garbage men might create due to unsecured trash.

Then and odd thing happened. Well, maybe it wasn’t too odd due to human nature and our ability to get attached to things but I let the crock pot sit around for a week or so. In my defense there wasn’t any room in the garbage can that first garbage day due to all the party detritus but I also couldn’t bring myself to outright break the crock pot. After all it may have been a disaster waiting to happen but at the moment it still worked. It was the functioning crock pot that I had cooked a lot of meals in for the last decade and a half. But I got over it.

About that week later when I was finally taking down a sun shelter that was put up for the party I decided to smash up the crock pot. One hit with a piece of wood I had laying about the place and it shattered like it always wanted to. Easily. And then the spell was broken. It was just another bit of garbage. Any attachment I had to it was gone. I crumpled the metal part up a bit, put it all in a bag, and set it in the garbage can. Boom. Over. Can’t even figure out why I was attached to it in the first place. Such is the world of objects.

I’ve never been one who has a hard time getting rid of stuff. Sure I have a lot of stuff and generally only throw stuff out when it’s useless or I need the room but I’m in no way a hoarder. After watching TV shows about hoarders I’ve heard friends wonder if they themselves were hoarders. Not that they were but it put the fear of getting like that into them. That thought hasn’t crossed my mind because I have a process for getting rid of things. If I need it.

I’ve found that tucking things away doesn’t help me if I want to get rid of stuff. When I tuck something away and forget about it and then find it latter it’s like a buried treasure. It’s finding something forgotten in an obscure box or drawer. Re-birthing and magnifying whatever little attachment I had to the thing. Tucking things away can make the unimportant seem more important.

Instead of tucking things away I’ll leave them out. Most of the stuff I get rid of I chuck right into the garbage can. There is no problem. But some things I can’t think up a reason to get rid of but also don’t have a good reason to keep. These are the items that can be tricky if there is a small emotional attachment to them. So I leave them out. And they usually get in the way of things. After a few days I generally get tired of the item and just want it gone. The small emotional attachment I had to it gets overwhelmed by the annoyance of keeping it. It’s then thrown away never to be though of again.

One last thought about that sun shelter. Often the last thing I take down after my party makes me a little wistful. It means it’s all over. Another year has come and gone. I put up a volleyball net in the back yard every year and often that is the last thing to come down. Occasionally I let it linger for a few days. I don’t want time to pass but it always does. In recent years I’ve been taking the volleyball net down right away to see if I can head off the wistfulness and sometimes that even works.

As a matter of fact I took down the net the next day but for various reasons left the sun shelter up. Then in rained a lot the following week. I sure couldn’t pack the sun shelter up wet and so it stayed there. It lingered. I wasn’t thinking at all about my after the barbecue wistfulness until the thing was down and my backyard got back to normal. Then I was like, “Oh, look at that. Another year’s barbecue is over.” Yeah, I’m a sentimental old softie.