Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tying bags.

Tony has a serious addiction to bags. I wish I had a picture to illustrate. When I first met him he worked at a retirement home in California. His "quarters" were in the laundry room of the home where he had a bed shoved up against the wall and not a heck of a lot else. He had plastic grocery bags hanging all over the walls on various nails and hooks and on whatever doorknobs or other hanging objects he could find. He had just about everything he owned in plastic grocery bags. What wasn't in the grocery bags was in plastic bins used for soap or kitty litter. I figured it was because he had no dresser or other place to keep his stuff. When he first moved up here to stay with us, he brought most of his bags, bins and backpacks. That is when I realized it had nothing to do with dressers or the lack of them.

All of a sudden my front porch was a collection of grocery bags hanging around from any hook or nail he saw and even hanging from the walking stick and the arms of the park bench. I had seen a picture of his house in the Phillipines and there were bags hanging all over the fence and porch wall. We had a little talk and I explained to him that this isn't the Phillipines and that I do not want bags hanging all over the place. I bought him a little garbage can that looked like a cute little animal so he could put his trash in that and told him the rest needed to go in the house. He tried, but he just doesn't get it.

One day I went out to clean and vacuum the front porch and he had filled the little garbage bin with all kinds of things, but not garbage. He had nail clippers, a mustache brush, a lighter, some glue, scissors, his phone cards, a bus schedule, a mirror, tweezers, and I can't remember what all else. He had three bags with garbage and newspapers and some other personal stuff out there. I explained to him that I bought the trash bin for his trash so that he didn't have to leave a grocery bag lying around to blow away. I won't try to figure out how many times we had that conversation, but I finally threw the little garbage thingy out because I was tired of him not getting it.

I resigned myself to a grocery bag used on the front porch for garbage and we made an agreement that at least he would dispose of the bags in a timely manner whether they had achieved fullness or not. I also got him to agree to bring all other personal stuff into the house. He agreed, but never complied. I think he thought the front porch was his personal sitting room. I gave up.

The bag fetish continues, however. This last time when he left to go on the ships I had him pack most of his stuff up because he had taken up residence in the little "storage room". I planned on moving into the storage room myself while he was gone so that I could work on my bedroom. Besides, the bed in here is sooooooooo comfortable. I'm not sure I want to move back into my bedroom. But that is beside the subject.

He packed all his stuff in boxes for me before he left. I told him I would transfer it to plastic bins after he left. When I went to unpack and repack the stuff he had over 50 plastic grocery bags packed away with his stuff. These were not bags filled with stuff. These were EMPTY grocery bags from various stores that he had apparently collected over the months while he was waiting for a ship. In addition to that, everything he owned, except his backpacks, was wrapped in one or more of these bags. If, for instance, he had packed a pair of shoes he would wrap each shoe in a grocery bag and then place both wrapped shoes together in another grocery bag. All the bags were neatly tied shut, of course. Bag FETISH. Really!

I did not pack the empty grocery bags in the plastic bins when I repacked his stuff. I took them out to give to my niece. She works at a food bank and they can always use bags. However, in the meantime, Tony came back and I still had them sitting there in a box to go to my niece. He packed up a couple of boxes to go to the Phillipines. He is leaving this weekend and will be there for 90 days, so he is taking all that stuff that was packed here and leaving only his bag that he takes when he goes on the ships. Believe it or not he has used up more than half of those bags to pack his stuff and that was a LOT of bags. Never mind most of his stuff was already in bags. Never mind most of it is also still in its original wrapping from the store. Everything is in a bag. (or two bags, or three bags) I tease him about this daily. I told him he has a bag fetish, but he doesn't know what fetish means. I told him, "you are in love with plastic grocery bags!" He said, "Oh, they are so useful!" Haha. He's crazy!

Every morning, when he is here, I wake up to the sound of zippers, velcro, and those bags being opened and shut. He keeps everything in his backpack in those bags. Tony loves little compartments. So, for instance, if he checks his blood sugar, gets out his medicine, clips his nails, eats some of his crackers, and checks the bus schedule it is three different velcro pockets, a zipper pocket and four bags that have to be opened and shut again. To him it is as normal as you going into the bathroom and opening your medicine chest. I think it is because he lives on the ships, although they have little apartments with dressers and a bathroom for each person. I don't have any proof, but I bet he never uses the dressers or the medicine cabinet on the ships. I imagine he just keeps his bags and backpacks handy and lives out of them like he does here. I have tried and tried to get him to keep his medicine up out of reach in the medicine cabinet. It just doesn't get through to him. OBLIVIOUS. He is completely oblivious. I just make sure I know which one contains the medicines so if the kids are here I can put it up where it is out of reach.

Tony is a very simple person. He has no idea his simplicity drives me nuts. I get so irritated sometimes, but that same simplicity that drives me nuts completely disarms me when I want to be mad. It's not so much that it's kind of cute, it's more that he is really completely OBLIVIOUS to the obvious. Bags are a friend to him. They are an enemy to me. Do you realize how fast they can build up and take over? Yet, to him that "build up" is a welcome thing. I sincerely doubt he could ever get "too many" plastic grocery bags. And I sincerely believe that he could find a way to fill each and every one of them. Crazy!

The man loves to fill up pockets, pouches, backpacks and bags. If you don't believe me, look at this picture. See the pocketed vest under his coat? See the pocket on his pants leg? He loves bags and pockets!

He found this pocketed vest at a thrift store. I think it's a fishing vest. It has at least a dozen pockets. When he is looking for something in it, it seems more like a hundred pockets. He forgets which pocket he used for which item and digs through all of them until he finds the item. I could hate this vest because he never washes it (he would have to empty it, haha) and the only time he is not wearing it is when he is asleep. He has something in each and every one of these pockets and he wears this thing everywhere.


Sue said...

Very interesting post and a very interesting man.
It would drive me nuts! but I guess we all have our quirks!

The Invisible Mo said...

LOL...he does drive me nuts. It's one of those dichotomies in my life. Even though he drives me nuts,(and I mean seriously nuts!!), I always look forward to when he is here. As soon as he gets here, though, I can't wait for him to leave. haha. It's just weird.
I think it is because he makes life just a little more interesting. Who else would think to mix avocado with mint chocolate ice cream topping to make a delicious avocado frozen treat that he calls avocado ice cream?

mental mosaic said...

That's pretty endearing, though. Great photo of him on the bike!

Wow - avocado ice cream? That sounds really interesting. I would definitely try a bite. How did he come up with that one, I wonder?

The Invisible Mo said...

@Tui...he told me that they have avocado ice cream in the Phillipines. I don't know about that, but it wouldn't surprise me because I know they have garlic ice cream down in Gilroy, California.

Christine said...

This is hilarious! Sorry, maybe not to you but it sure made me laugh. He would be in trouble here cause I manage to use those bags for cat litter and for picking up the dogs mines in the backyard. I am always short on them. That vest is like a ladies purse for him. it is a man purse.

The Invisible Mo said...

Yes, Christine, it is hilarious to me, too. When it's not totally irritating! haha. Next time he is here I can steal his bags and mail them to you! LOL.