Sunday, February 05, 2017

The paper chase

'Round about last week or so … maybe earlier, I can't remember, exactly since I didn't write it down ... I resolved to change.

I was going to organize.

Now, I wasn't going to Get Organized, in the uppercase sense of the phrase. I wasn't going to clean the house from top to bottom or throw out two items of accumulated consumption for every new object of desire. 

I was just going to attempt to bring order to some small mess within my existence.

Anything: A desk drawer; A closet; the cabinet nearest the sink, or just one measly shelf in that little old medicine cabinet. Something. Anything.

Now, you might be tempted to think this sudden desire to go from dissonance to consonance would have something to do with the Earth completing its rotation around the Sun, but its timing was merely a coincidence. 

The only temporal arrangement that matters was the moment I realized I had no idea where my birth certificate had gone … or our marriage license … or the title to my car.

Oh sure … I know it has to be here somewhere. I tap my finger on my nose as I prop my chin on my thumb as I squint into my sunlit home office. But where? Binders. Bins. Briefcases. File cabinets filled to overflowing. 

Paper chase.

It's not that complicated, you tell me. It's not like taking a Bar exam, or applying for a student visa, or making a souffle that doesn't fall. The answers are usually straight forward.

You just need to put all your import information in one place.

Which, in my way of thinking means an entire room of my house will be filled, floor-to-ceiling, with stuff. Picture an eight-foot-tall area rug surrounded by a couch and two chairs. It will have coffee and jam stains in a matter of minutes. The cat will chew the edges.

No. No. No, silly. You need a container. With a handle. An object you can take with you. In your travels. Yeah … travels.

It should resist flames and floods and all sorts of natural disasters.

You have already bought your fire safe container, where you've put your important documents. The basic life forms: Birth. Marriage. Death. In that order. You probably haven't even mixed them with documents of the more social-genealogical sort -- the newspaper clippings about friends of relatives, recipes from the Internet and kindergarten hand-print animals – as I have.

I know … I'm making it too hard. Those fire-proof vaults are never big enough to store papier-mache wildlife, which will probably be both literally and figuratively extinct by the time the kids reach middle school anyway. 

Shhhhh. The sky isn't falling. The sky isn't falling. I just need a place to put important papers I might need in case of inevitable doom. And up until now, I'd just been worried I'd lose that flimsy-little key that makes all “safe.”

Also ... I can be honest. Those things weigh a figurative TON, and I hadn't had the foresight to liberate a shopping cart before having the impulse to buy.

Just follow directions, and you won't have this problem, say the experts. It's as easy as Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

But I don't want the SHAMPOO telling me what to do with my life. I don't trust it (or its legal team). I tried it their way, and all it gave me was dry, brittle hair.

Maybe organizing the medicine cabinet was too ambitious. Maybe I should have started by making a list ... Which I will do, after I organize the pens.

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