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Sunday, December 18, 2005

When I’m trying to pick music to listen to before I get into the car, I look across all of my CDs, and try to think of what I’d like to hear. Usually, after a few seconds, I find myself thinking ‘I don’t want to listen to any of this crap.’ To some people, this might seem funny, because I own somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 CDs. I have an idea about why this is.

People who collect things all share the obsession to always want more, different, and newer varieties of the thing they collect. In Haruki Murakami’s short story Tony Takitani (which was recently turned into a movie), a man named Tony Takitani marries a woman who is obsessed with clothes. She goes shopping every day, and fills an entire room with racks and racks of designer clothes. The shopping begins to stress Tony’s budget, so he asks that she cut back on spending. She tries, but when she wanders through her wardrobe of designer clothes that she’s worn only once or twice before, she finds herself disgusted with all of them, and is tortured by not having the freedom to go buy more.

Conversely, I don’t have a lot of clothes. I usually wear jeans (one of four or five pair that I have) and a polo-style shirt, almost every day. I never find myself torn with indecision about what to wear, or feel upset that I don’t have more. I’ve got the basics, and I use them diversely.

To put the whole thing in perspective, I’m aware that I don’t need CDs any more than Tony’s wife needs an entire roomful of designer clothes. I know that people in the world live off of a whole lot less than I do and are just as happy. But when I think about all the album that I don’t have . . . when I read about new releases and classic must-haves . . . I have to restrain myself from running to the record store.

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