I used to collect plastic bags.
I never threw out a plastic bag, and so consequently I had a closet full, and several drawers too. Stuffed into the smallest of crevices in the kitchen and laundry.
I was a plastic bag hoarder.
I never knew when I'd need a plastic bag, and I never wanted to be left short.
I used plastic bags the way other people used shoulder bags. I used plastic bags when I was travelling, instead of a toiletry bag. I used them to keep my dirty washing in, and to stuff into the sleeves of my jackets when I packed them into suitcases. A little trick to prevent wrinkles.
Just in these few sentences, you can get some idea of the multitudinous uses of plastic bags. Is it little wonder then that I hoarded them so assiduously?
All that came to an end though when I came back from the Camino.
I no longer had an irrational need to keep several hundred plastic bags in a cupboard where, by rights, saucepans should have resided.
I can't tell you the exact moment on the Camino when I shed myself of this need to collect plastic bags. I do know that during the walk, on the odd occasion I stayed in a swanky hotel, I did collect feminine hygiene plastic bags.
They were just the right size for my toothbrush.
Anyway, it's one of the great mysteries of the Camino for me – that I came back no longer needing to hoard plastic bags.
I'd like to tell you that I took all my plastic bags into the back yard and had a ceremonial burning. That didn't happen. There were so many I was afraid I would have burnt down the house.
But my wife and I have been slowly using them up, and soon there will be none. And I will feel a free man once again. Thanks to the Camino.