In the third drawer in my kitchen, I have assembled one of the largest collections of blue plastic coffee scoops in the Northern Hemisphere. I don't know precisely how I came to be curator of coffee scoops, but it happened gradually, coffee can by coffee can. I just didn't throw them away.
Coffee scoops are not the only accumulated works in my possession. I also have a year's supply of disposable plastic shower caps, the kind that you get in expensive hotels where they charge you $6.50 for a continental breakfast and you steal the extra jam as reparation. I also have the jam jars.
These collections seem perfectly reasonable to me -- certainly when compared with other such museum-quality items. My aunt has four dozen empty plastic ice cream containers stacked neatly under her sink.
My mother has covered more doorknobs with rubber bands during her lifetime than she has had doors. A friend has washed and stored enough of the small wooden skewers from supermarket shish kebab to reconstruct the original tree.
Now I suppose you want to know what we plan to do with these things. But the truth is that if we were planners, we wouldn't have collected coffee scoops and elastic bands. We would have collected diamonds or De Loreans.
What we are is savers, and we will do with the skewers and shower caps what every compulsive does. We will save them.
I don't want to overstate my membership among the saved, or savers. I am not the sort of person who saves used Popsicle sticks for the Christmas gingerbread house. Nor do I see a lamp shade in every milk carton, or search for helpful hints on the use of ripped panty hose.
But I am like a lot of people who find the one prize in the Cracker Jack box of the disposable society and can't ever throw it away.
There are people to this day who have cartons of empty plastic L'eggs containers in their possession. They are not trying to incubate new knee-hi's. They just like them.
There's a neighbor in my life whose entire misbegotten plant collection comes from avocado pits and the babies of a grown-up spider plant that is as fertile as it is ugly. Her kitchen looks like a Plant Rescue League, but she can no more throw out a cutting than a kitten.
A lot of us are saving "for a rainy day." The waste-not-want-not psychology has gripped my aunt, who also has shirt buttons catalogued since 1942. Her plastic containers are security against the day when the capitalists have strip-mined all the plastic.
But they also include a friend who has never been able to thin out the mess of wire coat hangers she gets at the cleaner, because someday she will need all 200 of them. Her husband, a wine lover, has one of the best- equipped cork cellars in the East. Should we ever break off diplomatic relations with Portugal, the land of the cork trees, he will be able to single-handedly supply the entire valley of Sonoma.
As for my blue coffee scoops, unlike all these other people, I actually have a few sane reasons for enlarging my third drawer display area.
1) The scoops are great for playing in the sandbox, and in 20 years I might have grandchildren.
2) I can string them together and make a neat necklace.
3) Sooner or later the coffee people will stop putting them in the can, but I will have a lifetime supply.
Then, wastrels of the world, you can all eat your hearts out.