Monday, April 30, 2007

Wherein I wish I were more anal retentive....

Some people have it easier than others. They clean when they are stressed. I stack papers I can't face. Or I shove them under a book. Or I pile them into a drawer. Or they sit scattered across a couch and I avert my eyes when I walk through the room.

I have this one chair that is really cool. It's all lime green, and aqua blue, blotched by squares of red, which are smothered with that orangey-yellow (I swear it's beautiful) and I'd photograph it except it is covered and has been in books and papers and zip jackets for, like, thirty years or at least since I started grad school. It seems like the perfect chair for reading, or so I've heard, but in my office, it serves as file drawers and book shelves, without all that annoying structure of files and shelves to hinder the sliding around of said books and papers.

I was at this non-profit gala the other night for an organization whose aim it is to eradicate a disease I can't pronounce that afflicts about 1000 people in the world. Yeah, I know - crazy rare disease with dire consequences! Half of the afflicted seemed to be in the room. Anyway, the woman who organized the organization is from Cincinnati. When her daughter was diagnosed with this incurable illness she did what any mother would do--she started a 10 million dollar foundation to do scientific medical research to identify the gene, discover the medicines that might treat it and to set up the first clinical trials of the treatments....

Yeah, right!! Who does that? No one. It takes a freak of nature to do something like that. Most people hear their daughter is going to die and there's nothing you can do and they then do nothing. Not this babe. She turned on her uber-mother gene and got to work. How did she do it? According to the speaker, Sue Byrnes (founder) has two essential qualities: She's a workaholic, and a perfectionist.

Well, of course she is! And so seem to be all the other people who do remarkable things. I mean, it's not that I'm lusting after dooce's OCD for example (or is it?), nor is it that I want to be Sue Byrnes.... but well, I blame my parents! They're ridiculously organized neatniks and I can't figure out why I didn't get the gene. Growing up, I can't remember ever seeing a stack of, well, anything as a kid. My mom cleaned out our closets once per year and if a game had even a cracked lid (never mind that all contents were within and accounted for), that game was out the door to Goodwill. I wasn't allowed to have an extra pencil in a drawer, let alone a junk drawer.. My father's "junk drawer" opened easily and slid shut with a happy click, containing sensible items like a hammer, pliers and a ball of rubber bands.

My junk drawer (okay, plural - junk drawers) don't open or close. They sort of ooze.

Today, I wish I knew how to tackle this desk. So I'm doing what I always do when I don't want to organize (see? I'm so not a perfectionist). I'm writing.


Ampersand said...

I always know I'm going to like one of your posts that starts with the word "wherein."

I seem to have missed the same gene. And I did not produce it in my offspring. And I have worn it out of my previously diligent husband, in a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Dave said...

This sounds so much like me. The desk I'm sitting at right now... let me just describe what I see... four separate spindles of blank CDs or DVDs, the complete (to date) collection of Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs, a box of checks, two empty iPod Nano cases, dissassembled, three old cassette tapes (still in cases since I never listen to cassettes any more), a CD insert booklet from Sufjan Stevens' 5 disc Christmas CD set that I have to return to the library because I forgot to return it with the discs themselves on Saturday, two books (Sy Hersh's "Chain of Command" and Lawrence Wright's "Looming Tower") a couple of old T-Mobile bills that I still have to divvy up and collect from my kids, a highlighter and a ball point pen, a set of Pearl Jam pins (one for each member of the band, plus an avocado) and a set of Who pins, a Lego robot minifig (from the old Exploriens line of spaceships, popular in the mid-90's), a punk rock Troll doll with a rainbow mohawk and a similarly colored guitar, more DVDs (Slacker, Mr. Arkadin and Kill!, a mid-60's Japanese samurai action-comedy), a $25 Amazon gift certificate that I don't know what to spend it on, more CDs (Peter Gabriel's "So", Boards of Canada "Trans Canada Highway" and Ian & Sylvia's Greatest Hits), a couple of double-A batteries, a new toner cartridge for my printer that is ready to be inserted whenever the other one empties out, and a cloth "Beatles" patch. Plus assorted computer components (mouse, power strip, modem, wireless hub, etc.) a plastic football and a blue wristband that says "Cultivate Peace."

I think that's it. Don't ask me to inventory the clutter piled up just around the corner, or on the table behind me. There's just too much important stuff to do to spend all our time neatening up and organizing things.

carrie said...
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carrie said...

'd jump right in and say "Me, too!" but I'm not in the same league, Julie! You may be looking "up" at the uber-mom, but I'm doing the same thing with you! I keep wondering, "Where is the gene that allows a woman to have five children, homeschool, run a home-based business, and go back to get a master's degree??? Huh???" When you stop all extra-curricular activities (like, school, work, writing...) and still have a house you can't move in, then give me a call. We'll commiserate. In the meantime, I'll just remind myself that this is a continuum, and there might be someone looking at me thinking, "How does she get it all done?" (poor thing)