Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Medical Problem

My mum is a hoarder. There I said it. And there is no way she can possibly read this very damaging blog post either so we are good. The only time she uses the computer is to watch movies online and that too with my help. On shitty connection day, she would smack the computer screen repeatedly shouting, "It's spoilt! It stopped!"; the video was merely buffering. The world wide web according to my mother is only two things: Google and porn. Can you blame her?

Wait, where was I? Yes, my mum is a hoarder.

A week ago, while at home, my mum had asked me to take ten dollars from her wallet and go to the wet market across the street to buy carrots and mushrooms. She screamed from the kitchen actually, busy cutting her onions to make chicken soup when she realized that she had forgotten to buy carrots and mushrooms earlier on during her ritual grocery shopping.

"Take ten bucks from my wallet! It's on top of my cabinet where I put my shoes and underwear! Buy carrots about three to four pieces and a packet of shiitake mushrooms! Now quick! I am making chicken soup!"

"Why are you shouting? I am right behind you," I said.

"God! Stop creeping up behind me! Harry, you're going to give me a heart attack!" she dramatically shouted, kitchen knife in hand.

"I was about to get a glass of orange juice. Don't be dramatic can?" I rolled my eyes.

I went to her room and searched for her wallet. it was perched on top of the cabinet as mentioned and I opened the familiar looking Ganchino clasp and I...well, I don't know what to say. In her wallet, was a stock of receipts, easily fifty different receipts in all shapes and colors. I couldn't find her notes, the entire note slot was almost bursting with her receipts.

AXS, Cold Storage ($200 worth of groceries), breads and pastries from bakeries all over Singapore, Louis Vuitto (a $2700 bag that I never knew existed!), salons (wash and blow with treatment), Standard Chartered Bank, Lancome (lipstick? she never wore any lipstick), and this is the only the first few that I managed to quickly glance through.

Some of the receipts are dated as far as 2008; that is four years ago. For a neurotic neat freak like my mother, this is unprecedented. Suddenly it hit me. I opened my mother's cabinet and boy was I right. In the first drawer of her cabinet is a collection of wedding favours that she has amassed over the years. Pens, mugs, plastic cupcakes (tack as hell), refrigerator magnets, more mugs, brooches and what have you. It is all neatly arranged in the cabinet. I have never opened my mum's cabinet before so this is a revelation.

One of the refrigerator magnets was in a shape of a rose with a caption that read Lisa and Lance, 23rd May 1997.

My mum keeps wedding favours from fifteen years ago.

I feel like I am in a reality programme where the children call a psychologist to do an intervention on their compulsive hoarding mother and to burn all the receipts and wedding favours that we can get our hands on.

"What are you doing?" my mum suddenly popped at the door, hands on her waist.

"You're a hoarder. Oh my god. You need help," I replied in mock horror.

"Why is my cabinet drawer open?" my mum asked again, this time more tense.

"You're totally clamming up. Why do you keep receipts from four years ago. And Uncle lance got married fifteen years ago. And he is divorced, but you still keep his wedding favour, why may I ask?"

"Why can't I? It's memories. And I'm just lazy to throw away my receipts. I have way too many things to do, " my mum explained.

"You're showing early signs of compulsive hoarding. It's a medical problem," I teased.

"You watch too much of The Kardashians. That's a medical problem too!" my mum snapped back.

Defensive much?

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