My mother worked for a very, very long time. Worked in various offices and other places of order and civility, like a Museum or a University or (even more so) a university’s law school. The places where she worked came to think of my mother as a miracle worker of making order and keeping everything just so and ALWAYS knowing where things should go and would be found. All my mother’s co-workers openly wept and cursed the gods of retirement every time she went on to the next thing.
This reality was (and probably still is) very frustrating to my father, for whom my mother keeps losing the rubberband from the checkbook.
It’s their own system (and by “their system” I of course mean that it’s mostly his system) to keep things together in the land of check-bookery and it works pretty well, but it all hinges on this big, fat, purple broccoli rubberband that goes around the checkbook and holds it all compact. So when Mom goes out to do a pile of things, at least one of which required writing a check, and comes home with a rubberbandless checkbook Dad sometimes has a hard time not losing it. And a crucial part of his frustration goes like this:
“Why are you so super-organized and on top of absolutely everything at work, but you can’t be like that at home????”
(Side note of importance about my Dad: he’s mostly been self-employed my whole life. There was some time where he worked for others, but he’s way happier and better and less “want to chew a hole in my own cheek and set fire to someone’s desk”-ey when he’s his own boss. However that means his experience out in job-world is different than most.)
The reason that my Mom can’t be super-organized and on top of absolutely everything both at a job and at home is this: nobody can be super-organized and on top of absolutely everything all the time. You just can’t. If you were to really be that methodical you’d last for 20 years and then you’d be super-organized about loading the rifle and picking just the right clock-tower and… you see where I’m going with this, right? So if you can only be super-organized part of the time you’re gonna chose the time when you’re at work! The time where someone is paying you good money to BE super-organized, as opposed to the time where you’re home with your sweet baboo who probably didn’t marry you because of your organizational skills. I totally get this.
I get this because I INHERITED this. At my work everyone thinks I’m ever so efficient and organized and I don’t lose things and I’m good at remembering things and it’s excellent. Especially because hopefully they’ll love me and promote me and pay me enough money so that I can hire a personal assistant to come to my home and help me find ANYTHING! Socks! Library Books! Checks for actual money! You name it, people, and I can lose it. Not at work, but at home. At home I’m a loser. (so to speak.)
For instance, right now I’m supposed to be sending this big, important paper to this big, important company in a big, important city for what will eventually provide me some big, important MONEY to help me pay for big, important CHRISTMAS. Except for that I went to get the big, important paper in the place I was sure would be it’s home last night. And I know that right now I don’t even have to tell you how lacking in big, important papers that place was.
I. Am. Freaking. OUT.
If I had no systems in place for this I’d probably be less frustrated, but I really thought that I’d totally managed this. I was sure that the paper would be right there when I went for it, looking all smug and “I knew you’d come for me eventually.” But then I got there and nothing. No matter how many times I went to the same place it was still never there. I spent hours going through every single pile that couldn’t possibly have it because HELLO, I had a FLOOD 2 years ago and so everything in that room has already been SORTED once and this thing was received LONG BEFORE THAT so it could not be in the piles. It has to be in that place where it just isn’t.
So my list of things to do this weekend just got one new item added to it: FIND THE PAPER. Open every drawer and box and slot that I haven’t opened in the last 4 years and look through it to find that damned paper. Open the ones I’ve already opened. Don’t dare throw ANYTHING away. And, of course, lots and lots of good, healthy cursing.