How did my life get so cluttered? I’m sitting at my laptop, a Writers Market, festooned with Post-it flags, lies open on my left, along with two notebooks, one for writing and one for everything else. On a small shelf above the printer is a brochure for a writer’s conference and a discount flyer for auto maintenance. To my right is a conference table with two peanut butter jars of change, one for quarters and one for smaller coins, two Seymour Duncan guitar pickups I mean to sell on eBay; an espresso can full of pens, pencils, a pocket flashlight, an Exacto knife, a dull pair of scissors and a small screwdriver; a battered Webster’s pocket dictionary, a 30-foot measuring tape, a stapler, a frame of cubby holes sorted into – stuff, a folder for next years taxes I mean to put away, a draft of a story, two utility bills and a stack of guitar instruction books I plan to get to. On the wall are bracketed shelves sagging with the weight of magazines, novels, references, computer software, equipment manuals, and the gift brass sextant from my wife from two birthdays ago I intend to polish. My favorite guitar is on a stand besides the table, with the amp on the floor, and a black spray painted milk crate that says “Property of Creamland Dairy” below the conference table that I keep there for – I don’t remember what I keep it there for, but I must have had plans for it. Behind me is a woodworking bench my son found and gave to me, with a loose-leaf folder full of music on it. A folding tables in front of that holds another music folder opened to “So Many Stars.”
What IS all this stuff? Why haven’t I put the pickups back in the drawer in an old filing cabinet in the garage with the other guitar parts, and put the measuring tape back in my toolbox while I’m at it? Why haven’t I walked the tax folder back to the cabinet a full 15 feet away? When I graduated from college in Missouri and drove to my first job in California, I carried everything I owned in a ’56 Pontiac and I had enough room left over to sleep on the back seat. Now I’m a tiny, backwards, underdeveloped country.
In a previous life I was in the business world and would read articles on how to be organized and how to best use your time. And, on occasion, I have admired those people with clean desks, and it would be assumed clear minds–though secretly I believe they must be quite dull. Am I really that scattered, or just lazy? I’m not creative enough to justify this sort of chaos. Yes, I stay busy. So do ants, but they are much more orderly.
It’s Spring. Surely, I will soon get myself together and put some of this stuff away. And clean the garage, which is a worse disaster than my office, while I’m at it. Before that, though, I should probably check the news on the internet and pay a couple of credit card bills. But first I need another cup of coffee.