My friend’s mother was coming to visit. I thought he would be excited but instead he just shook his head and lamented the fact that while he had to work from his living room, his mother would be organizing the rest of his little apartment.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in such a big house because I never seem to have it organized and the idea of magical elves organizing all my cabinets and drawers was so tempting until I realized I would have to throw out a million and one. scraps of papers, diaries, books, and wacky things, and suddenly the idea of magical elves organizing my house didn’t seem all that tempting.
When I moved into my house, the first thing I did was organize my kitchen. It seemed the most practical thing to do, since it involved eating. And then after putting away all my pots and pans, and was busy congratulating myself on my organizational skills, I realized how stupid I was for starting my kitchen when I couldn’t cook and most of my meals consisted of take out food. .
Did I mention all the empty pizza boxes collecting dust at the bottom of my garbage can? I wondered if those magical elves could get rid of them in time for the garbage collection days that I keep forgetting. The empty sushi boxes in my car are something else. Perhaps their mother or those magical elves could get rid of them. I keep forgetting to throw them away when I go to fill my car with gas.
And that made me think of my friend’s tiny apartment that his mother was organizing for the tenth time since her last visit six months ago. What was left to organize?
Curiosity made me drive to her apartment. My friend was sitting on the couch in his living room, laboriously working on his laptop. No one could talk to him when he was working, so his mother and I quietly went to his kitchen to assess his progress.
Have you ever seen a box nest on top of more box nests and compacted into almost nothing? That was his mother’s last project. And of course each nest of boxes had the contents listed on the outside in a microscopic print so that everything could fit in the little labels on the outside of the boxes.
I put on my glasses and looked for a magnifying glass, but still couldn’t read the fine print. How the hell was my friend going to read what was in those boxes? I guess when his mother leaves, he will turn those boxes upside down and put the contents of those boxes in more convenient places, like the entire counter and maybe the most convenient first shelf in the closet.
And that got me thinking. Maybe I should hire her to organize my house. What could hurt? As it is, I have no idea where I put something, so I wear the same two outfits every week or open the same cans of tuna when I feel like a worker or order a large pizza with different toppings. I try to alternate the ingredients to feel like I’m eating something different every night.
One day my friend brought his mother to my house. He stood in the doorway and his eyes lit up. I could see her mentally organizing my entire house before I even looked at the different rooms.
“What is that room?” he asked twenty feet away.
“Oh that’s my office,” I replied, not realizing that I had just opened Pandora’s box.
“May I see it? I love offices; they are always so interesting.”
What can I say? I couldn’t exactly tell him to keep his nose out and not touch anything, could he? No, I couldn’t do that to my best friend’s mother. She walked into my office and I could see her mentally thinking about how I would rearrange my office furniture and equipment. Then, he saw what he called “junk” on my desk and I rolled my eyes wondering what he was going to do with it.
I did not have to wait long. She looked through my “trash” and started piling them up. How he cataloged them is anyone’s guess. She looked so pleased with herself that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that those piles of “junk” represented valuable pieces of information and that my entire business would collapse without them.
When he looked up and saw my nervous expression, he said, “Why don’t you two go inside and visit me for a bit? I can keep busy looking at all these interesting things that you have stacked on your desk. I bet your desk drawers they also have interesting things. “
I tried not to moan too loud. The contents of my desk drawers are the heart of my business and, no, they are in no particular order, but I know where everything is. Or should I say, I knew where everything was.
My friend’s mother was not like the magical elves I had envisioned, creating order out of chaos. She was more like a tornado sweeping through my office creating chaos out of the chaotic order I had. I wondered how I was going to make a living now that all my valuable information had been thrown away. Maybe they carefully disposed of it, but I’ll never know.
I didn’t want to seem too distraught and she kept assuring me that everything was there, but now in its right place and easy to find. In its proper place? How would I know its correct place and how long will it take me to find it?
When the two of them left, my head was spinning. How am I going to run my business? He even hid my schedule, so I don’t even know who’s supposed to call me tonight or what topics we’re supposed to be discussing. I felt bad thinking that my clients were going to think they had hired an idiot and I didn’t even know how to find the things she organized.
A short time later, my friend’s mom called me to thank me for giving her such a nice time organizing my office and to tell me that next time she comes she would like to organize all my cabinets and drawers.
I am seriously thinking about moving and just give my friend the post office address so neither he nor his mother can find me. I’m also seriously thinking about getting several of those disposable phones so they can’t call me to ask if they can come over.
But the very thought of moving out and having to go through all those cabinets and drawers and find new places to put everything gives me the creeps.
Maybe I’ll stay in this house to visit from time to time and rent a container to live with.