A small collection of robots guards the landline at the Labere household. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

A small collection of robots guards the landline at the Labere household. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Telephone robots and the value of collections

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

Standing beside our home’s archaic yet functional land line are several small robots.

The silvery, futuristic plastic toy and model mecha weren’t put there to be, I don’t know, ironic. It was just a good spot for them.

Though few in number, I suppose they qualify as a collection. It is, primarily, my collection, though my son has added one of his own.

In addition to robots, I also have several old cameras – a couple given to me by friends, others inherited from family. These things interest me though I do not go out of my way to collect them.

We also have a shelf full of books, but to me they’re different – they’re more than decorative dust collectors. Not that that defines a collection – it’s just how I’m most familiar with the concept.

I don’t think collecting things is a genetic predisposition. I know long ago, my mom had a collection of owl figurines. It was that classic collection backstory where you have one or two on display and people start giving you more as gifts. Next thing you know, there’s a shelf or shelves in a cabinet dedicated to this collection. I don’t think she even cared for owls.

Read more: Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Read more: RCMP searching for owner of vintage collection

I understand there are all kinds of reasons to collect things. It may begin out of nostalgia or a desire for historical connection. Maybe it’s an investment. Or maybe you’re just truly, deeply passionate about something – like vintage cars. I’m pretty sure that’s how we came to have Rust Valley Restorers TV series.

If you can take that passion and turn your collection into something more, like a TV show, that’s great. But I’m sure at some point a lot of collectors question whether or not their collection is worth hanging on to.

In my youth I collected comic books. Put them in bags in a big white box. Loved them as a kid but over time, and after a couple of moves, I just didn’t want to haul them around anymore. In the end I sold a bunch and gave the rest away.

Can’t say I’m a disciple of consumer minimalism and the Marie Kondo tidy/simplified lifestyle, But I do appreciate how the things in our lives are just that: things. Acquiring and possessing them may provide some small degree of ephemeral satisfaction, but they are often not intrinsic to a healthy, meaningful life.

That said, I do like our little faux-steel telephone sentries, and will likely hold onto them for a while.

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