Christine and Obsession
I recently finished Christine. It’s a book by Stephen King from 1983. It was actually released on April 26th of that year, making it almost exactly 30 years old. That little tidbit isn’t relevant, but I found it interesting nonetheless.
(In case you don’t know, which you likely don’t, I love all things Stephen King. Frankly, I don’t give two shits about the horror genre, but King is such a great writer that I can’t stay away.)
Don’t scoff at what I write next, because I nearly did before I started reading. The book is about a haunted car.
Seems sort of strange, doesn’t it? And not all that scary, either. By the end, however, my throat was tight and I was digitally flipping the pages as fast as I could get through them. It was exhilarating; honestly.
Arnie Cunningham is a teenager. One like many of us likely were. Awkward. Pimply. The opposite of smooth with the opposite sex. One day Arnie spots a beautiful (well, beautiful to him — it’s a junker, and that’s a compliment) red and white 1958 Plymouth. He quickly becomes enamored, ponies up the change the buy it, and gets to work restoring Christine (that’s her name) to her former glory.
Admiration quickly turns into obsession. Arnie spends every waking minute with Christine. His friends and family (and new girlfriend) notice a change in his personality; and it’s not for the better. Christine takes on a personality of her own, and the story takes off from there.
Throughout the book we see a struggle between object and person. Those close to Arnie wrestle with Christine being a she versus an it. And ultimately, she changes everything that Arnie once was. The it (she, to him) has informed the worldview of the he. Tis a tale that is oft repeated in our stuff-obsessed society. We let things shape our lives far too much.
One of my favorite authors once remarked: “If you can’t give away your iPod, you don’t own your iPod; it owns you.”
How many things in your life own you? Inform you? Shape you? Affect you? Control you?
Let’s count the ones in my life that I can list off the top of my head.
My french press.
I’m attached to these things perhaps a little more than I should be. I reach for them out of instinct rather than need. (It’s okay to reach for them for entertainment, just not out of habit or gut instinct.) They sometimes control my actions more than I’d like. Hopefully they don’t change my personality; I suppose you’d have to the judge of that.
The point: be aware of your obsessions. What controls you and your time? You? Or your stuff?