But let me share with you, dear reader, a plea, while I am going through my things.
My place is a graveyard. I don't know if this has happened to anybody else out there, but I have uncovered things that don't belong to me that I never wanted in the first place:
I am annoyed when people give me books that I have shown no interest in and expect me to read them.
I am even more annoyed when I tell them that I will not have time to read the book and they insist that I read it anyway.
I am even more annoyed than this when I tell them that I will probably lose the book and they insist I take it home.
This is not because I'm a hoarder. It's because I try to keep the item separate from my things so that I do not accidentally shelve them or mistake them as my own, but then it inevitably starts running with the wrong crowd: clutter. One day, it becomes sandwiched in between enough clutter that it is stuck on top of my desk.
Then, like dust, other little pieces of clutter start falling on top of it.
A year later, it's time to sort and shred, and suddenly, I've uncovered a book that I have not read and I can't figure out how to give back to that person without them asking what I thought about it.
You see, I am not a thief. I have reached the threshold where I recognize the pattern after it happened once or twice that I can give a full and accurate fortune telling account of what will happen to your book. I think now that I have to actually move into something more drastic such as waiting until their back is turned, hiding it under their couch, and pretending like I put the book in my purse when I leave. That way, when they move, they'll move their couch and find this mysterious book lying underneath it.
But why don't I just refuse the book to begin with?
In one case, the woman became quite whiney when I wouldn't accept the book. It was about endangered tigers or something to that effect, and I'm not even sure she would have cared that much except that she was trying to ingratiate herself upon me because of my lawyerly resources. That book subsequently became jumbled around in backseat clutter of my car.
Another book was loaned to me by another crazy woman. This one was eaten by my desk and I had completely forgotten about it. I was a good friend of hers at the time and this was accepted out of friendship even though I had also told her that I probably wouldn't read it.
Not all things that are lost are books, however. I lost a DVD once about artsy fartsy things, so this was not something one can buy at Best Buy for $5. A woman loaned the DVD to me after someone else borrowed it, and it turned out that the previous borrower had failed to put the DVD back in the case. The previous borrower gave the DVD to me about a week later, but I didn't have the case in my possession. I told the woman that let me borrow it that I would probably lose it, and it turned out that I was partially correct. I went into a cleaning frenzy and did not recognize the disc and threw it away, thinking it was some old junk garage band CD I picked up once in my youth. No, it turned out that this is a $30.00 DVD that can only be purchased from the artist's website. The honest thing to do is to buy a replacement even though I could not imagine this woman ever watching this DVD ever again. However, it makes me appreciate the benevolence of the junk piles because they hold and protect these sorts of things from my own stupidity. I swear that I racked my brain trying to figure out why I had this disc, but I could not remember until long after the garbage collectors came.
However, I have resolved that before I move that I'm going to have a mailing party where I'm going to mail things to people so that they can't quiz me if I liked the book. Thank god for media mail rates.