I have a friend who lives next to a very nice man. Unfortunately, he also happens to be a hoarder. His yard is full of junk cars, and his backyard looks exactly like that compound in Sacramento where the kidnapped Jaycee Dugard was held for 18 years.
My friend says she’s never heard any signs of life back there, fortunately. And he doesn’t seem to be the type of person who hoards animals or urine, because the place doesn’t seem to smell. Who knows what it’s like inside, though.
I firmly believe that people have a right to live exactly as they please, as long as it’s not harming anyone else. My friend isn’t detecting any kind of health hazard, and this man isn’t hurting anyone or anything but himself. In the Seattle area, nothing short of a nuclear waste dumping ground seems to negatively impact property values. He’s also the neighborhood’s go-to guy when someone needs to borrow a tool.
But I can’t help but feel sorry for the man. Clearly he has an anxiety disorder, and the accumulation of crap is his way of soothing himself. But it doesn’t seem to be working for him. Even though he’s pleasant enough, I detect this underlying tension and unhappiness. I hope someday he gets help. And I pity whomever has to deal with that house and its contents once he’s gone.