“I liked the rush, I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the fallout.” Robin read those words and thought that they were the appropriate ones for her epitaph. She had never learned to be organized, to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Her mother, Kathryn, tried to instill on her only daughter the need to put things back where they belong, but Robin just couldn’t seem to achieve the level of organization that her mother desired.
In school, her teacher would ask for the homework assignment. She marveled that Robin knew exactly where to look to find the paper. But, the clutter bothered Mrs. Washingtom to no end.
One day, frustrated and, obviously, having a bad day, Mrs. Washington grabbed Robin’s notebook, and emptied it out onto Robin’s desk. Then, she called Jennifer Hagerty over, and she had that “neat freak” show Robin her notebook. She had colored dividers by subject, and all of her papers were in chronological order!
Robin stared in fascination that anyone could be that organized! She was even more amazed when Mrs. Washington commanded her to spend the weekend making hers look some semblance of that model of perfect tidiness! She was to come to class on Monday with a new attitude and her notebook with nary a stray paper.
Kathryn bought her the dividers, and they worked on the project together. However, when everything was placed in a proper space, Robin couldn’t find anything! Kathryn sent her to school on Monday, so proud of the orderliness of her notebook.
Mrs. Washington, praised her for the unclutteredness of her notebook. But, when she asked for Robin’s homework, expecting to witness the fruits of her ideas, she was appalled to find Robin tearing the notebook apart trying to find the desired object! She nearly started to pull her hair out, but she learned to just keep silent.
Although Robin won that battle, as an older woman in her sixties, she wishes that she had learned the lessons on tidiness and organization that her mother and teacher tried to teach her. For when she needs a bill or some important paper, she endures stress to the point of nearly having a stroke, stress that could be avoided, if she weren’t so disorganized.
How many hours of hunting could be saved and spent in a more enjoyable manner, if her life were uncluttered by papers all willy-nilly in her file cabinets! She has learned that disorganization is the mother of stress and the stealer of father-time.
But, Robin has decided that this is her life, that she is too set in her ways to start organizing with different color folders and those ugly green dividers. Her children will probably curse and try to fob the job of organizing the papers needed at the end of her life onto each other. But, Robin will be blissfully unaware of the chaos she left behind, never considering how her disorganization would cause the teetotaler among her child to start drinking!
Semi-autobiographical story written for First Line Friday from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: “I liked the rush, I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the fallout.” The incident above regarding a notebook emptied out on a desk happened to me in the fourth grade, but it had no lasting effects. I waste so much time looking for things, and I promise myself to do better next time, but you know how that ends, don’t you?