Tennessee! Kentucky! Ohio! “Let’s see who can spot the most states on license plates while we ride inside of this too-small rental car.” Arkansas! Oklahoma! Kansas! “I need three more state magnets and my fridge door will be complete.” Nebraska! Wyoming! Montana! “I want a picture in front of every state welcome sign.” Whether it’s a collection postcards or key chains, there is something about accumulation that almost seems ethereal.
My father used to collect newspapers, many of which my mother would throw away; my mother once collected clothes that she would sometimes never wear; my sister used to collect fingernail polish and craft materials; I used to collect Hot Wheel’s Cars and Pokémon Cards. Since I’m no longer a kid and have recently made writing my career, I’ve turned from gathering objects to amassing words and phrases. I enjoy discovering words such as petrichor (the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil) or ploitering (pretending to work when you are not actually working).
There are people who collect music and those who hoard magazines. I have a friend who has over fifty Fifty One Fifty fitted caps, and another friend who owns the largest movie collection I’ve ever seen (it covers an entire wall in his living room). Collecting seems capable of adding solace to the dispirited while even more merriment to the jovial. Some of us accrue so much in our lifetimes, such as attending every museum in their country or specific artifacts. While there are others who would rather gather people than places and things.
Texas! Louisiana! Mississippi! For me, there’s something sacred about meeting locals who take pride in their hometowns. I find enjoyment in listening to different accents and colloquialisms indigenous to certain cities, states and regions. I am also a sucker for stories and good company. If not careful collecting can become addictive. Alabama! Florida! Georgia! “My bumper sticker collection is almost complete!” California! Oregon! Washington! “Three more quarters and my map challenge will be fulfilled.” New York! New Jersey! Pennsylvania!
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