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Column: For the love of stuff

We all develop attachments. To people. To places. To memories. Even in some cases to cast members from hit MTV reality TV Jersey Shore.

Not, you know, in my case. But I've heard.

I like to think I don't develop attachments to inanimate objects. There's a certain romance to the idea that I could happily walk away from the material possessions I've accumulated and start over with nothing.

Romance, maybe. But not a lot of reality. Because if I'm perfectly honest I like a lot of stuff I've managed to pile up over the years. I wouldn't trade my iPhone for any of the people who are most important to me, but I'm happy I have it. It's almost always there for me, and it hardly ever calls me names.

I've only had my Kindle for a few weeks, and it's a hand-me-down at that, but I love reading on it.

Maybe most significant, I've put enough miles in on my bike over the seven years I've owned it that it's practically part of the family. A part of the family I sit on for extended periods, granted, but we all have relatives like that, don't we?

I don't feel this way about all inanimate objects. I bought some pens recently, and the paint on the outside seems to be flaking off. I got home yesterday and discovered I had little black flakes all over my face.

But there are certainly attachments. There are things I own that I would be sad to lose. And that makes it all the more difficult when the things you own let you down. That phone I've enjoyed for nearly two years? It gave out on me twice last weekend. I was left utterly out of contact with the outside world. If you don't count my ability to e-mail from my home computer. Or from the laptop I borrowed from work. Or Facebook. Or Twitter.

You see? Utterly cut off!

The bike? Over the course of this summer I've discovered two cracks in the frame. I've had to replace it, and the idea of that feels just a little bit like putting a favorite pet to sleep. Only, in this case I'm scavenging parts of the old pet so I can save a little money on the new one.

Is that gross?

And the Kindle? Actually, that's just fine. Way to go, Amazon.

Lately, it seems like a lot of my stuff is letting me down. The air conditioning in my car conked out earlier this summer, which has made driving uncomfortable at times. And last month the handle on my lawn mower snapped. I don't actually have any attachment to the lawn mower -- come on, it's a lawn mower! -- but having to buy a new one is kind of a pain.

I might still get to a point someday where I don't care about material possessions. It's a worthy goal, I think.

In the meantime, have you seen the new iPhone? It's really shiny!

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606