My father not only had O.C.D but E.C.D or as I like to call it: Excessive Compulsive Disorder. As you saw in photo 2, my father was a terrible hoarder. This was not just contained to the garage. It spread through the house but it was always well hidden. The kitchen cupboards were host to his disorder. This photo is a small example of his compulsion to store rubbish. How many plastic containers can one person need? No way was his obsession this bad when I was at home. It worsened when I left and his bizarre addiction grew. He never used these things nor did they have any order.
Each cupboard held another trove of goodies for his compulsion. Whether it was piled high with cups and glasses (see below) or stocked with hundreds of coffee jars, filled with over fifty plates or stacked high with tissue boxes; my father just could not stop.
I never questioned it or challenged him. He would not have been able to see through his addiction. By the end, it had consumed him. The house was filled with excessive amounts of utter crap. After he died and we went to tidy up, we were appalled at the state it had become. For a man who detested wastage, I was confused at how risky he was with some of his purchases. He berated me horrifically if I ever wasted anything. I became extremely nervous and careful when buying anything perishable in case he saw my waste. So why not criticise his own wastage?
He never berated himself.
He never saw fault in himself.
Only in me.
The garage: a place he kept all the things that could not fit in anywhere else. I hated it. It never had a purpose, it was just a dirty storage unit for my father. When I was growing up, the garage was filled with garden equipment, old suitcases, our childhood bikes, ladders and occasional cleaning products. It was kept just like a garage should be. When my mother left, it’s purpose became unclear and my father began using it as a dumping ground. Old chairs began to surface as did other furniture we had stopped using. He started collecting crates of wine and endless bottles of beer there. Several sets of garden furniture appeared over the years, just in case he ran out during his BBQs for his “friends”. His hoarding was growing out of control. Worst of all, this space one day became my father’s gym. He bought a rowing machine and exercise bike and placed them into the already cramped area. I kept well away. No one ever entered the garage except him. That was until he started using it as an airing room. The damp, mouldy garage became the place he hung his clothes to be aired. When my father decided that he wanted entire control over every aspect of my life and began washing my clothes,* the garage was the place to let them dry. As he had been tirelessly looking after me, it was then my “job” to make sure all the clothes were hanged up on the washing lines he had now attached to the garage ceiling. ALL the clothes. Including his underwear. I refused of course. I would not attach mine either, he hated my insolence but nothing was going to let me degrade myself any further. He just laughed at me reiterating how ridiculous I was being and to “grow up and take responsibility”. I stood my ground, I already felt belittled enough.
I dreaded Sundays.
The day of “rest”. Well, it wasn’t for me. It was the day my father would do the few chores he set for himself. It was the day of “inspection” where my father would check on my cleaning and tidying. It was the day where I would often find piles of my “mess” the abuser had discovered strewn and scattered all over the house. It was my day to hang up the laundry and enter the disgusting garage. Sunday was the day I hated, when my father would follow me in and watch to see if I was doing it correctly otherwise it would all be taken down and done again. This time as he waited.
*See post: The right to wash my own clothes – Published 2nd April 2013