Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hoarders, hoarders everywhere!

I should have seen it as an omen when I was reading and saw Dear Prudence had someone writing her who was a COH.  She did call it what is was, and offered the resources of the show Hoarders. Warmed my little COH heart.

Then I went out for sushi.  I am part of a loose network of folks that are sushi-afficinados, and roughly 25 of us descended on a nice little local place.  I had a work issue that I was providing some support to staff, so I was about 15 minutes late (and I let them know).

When I got there, the only seat available was near a gentleman I will call 'Ben'.  To give a bit of background, Ben has been unemployed since being termed at an electronics store for being 'overqualified'.  He continues to be 'overqualified' and is in his mid 40's, and has always lived with his hoarding mother.  Last time I saw him, he was complaining bitterly about the township forcing a clean-out of the trailer he and his mother share.  This time he brought his mother with him.  

This is where my descent into hell began.  Since Ben is a larger person (and no shame in that), he had moved to the end of the table... Where he proceeded to talk nonstop about... NOTHING.  He and his mother shared a large plate of sushi and sashimi, and then the real fun began.  Note HEAVY sarcasm.  During the next 105 minutes I witnessed the following:

  • Utensil FAIL. I know that it is perfectly acceptable to eat sushi and sashimi with your fingers... however, it is NOT acceptable to tear it apart with your fingers, dump the rice in the soy dish, and  then dig it out with your fork straight into your mouth, chin on table.  They both ate with less manners than some animals.  Also the long discussion of not being able to use chopsticks because of carpal tunnel?  <YAWN>
  • Chewing FAIL.  It is generally a good idea to close your mouth while chewing, and to NOT SPEAK while chewing.  He and momma sprayed food 'bits' onto their serving plate, their plates, their shirts, the table, and on one occasion... MY ARM.  Also, if I am seated an arms-length away from you and your breath makes my stomach turn even before consuming/masticating large quantities of sushi, I wonder how long it has been since you brushed your teeth.  
  • Conversation FAIL.  They did not stop the nonstop stream of chatter through the entire meal.  Not while chewing, swallowing, or even DRINKING. Also, little concept of conversations evolve, and subjects move quickly, and others may have something to contribute. 
  • Personal Hygiene FAIL.  Did I mention breath reminiscent of a baby dragon's freshly used potty chair?  Please do not ask me about the fingernails...  
  • Personal boundary FAIL.  During the meal they would intersperse conversation to each other, and it was about subjects not generally talked about in acquaintance company.  The job situation.  Whether her disability check was deposited.  When he paid the one credit card with a partial payment.  That he skipped the payment on another.  That they would save their cash and use a credit card to pay for their dinner.  That their card was declined to insufficient capacity for that transaction... you get the idea.  Oy vey!
  • Boundaries of others FAIL.  They shared deeply personal things about folks that were not present that I know for a fact at least one of the people would not want discussed for any reason.  Like the reason his relationship failed.
I could go on for a lot longer, but you get the picture. I was subjected to much of the behavior that I am frustrated by with my hoarding mother, and it made the meal very difficult and triggering for me.  

Oh- and the sushi I left on my plate because I lost my appetite?  They ate it, stating that it was TERRIBLE to leave such good and expensive sushi to be taken back to the kitchen to be thrown away...

It was 2 pieces of red roof roll.  Not newly weaned puppies.

Back to the regularly scheduled program...


  1. Yikes, through the first paragraph I started thinking "sushi sounds amazing..." by the end I feel like I can make it until dinner. It's amazing what hoarders and others with both mental and physical issues can acclimate themselves to.

  2. Rebecca- It is amazing how the accommodation process works. It is also of interest how little those who hoard seem to correctly interpret non-verbals, metamessages, and the like from those around them. I attempted to remain neutral and cool... but I am sure that it was clear to most that I was openly disgusted. Especially when I was 'sprayed'.

    So sad, and so unfortunate.