Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I think I am changing, or perhaps I am just becoming aware of a part of myself that I had not been aware of before.

For a long time, I have had fun teasing LK about her penchant for precise organization. That's a nice way of saying that "A place for everything and everything in its place" is not a proverb to her, but a religious mantra.

Her organizational skills are often mysterious to me. Why, for example, are these utensils all together? Because they grate things. OK, then why are those in this drawer together? Because they have wooden handles. And why haven't you put the soup ladles together? Because the big one won't fit (often accompanied by a look that says, Gee you're dumb.)

And it's not just about where you put the utensils. For example, towels have to be folded in a certain way. I used to think this was very odd until I brought it up in conversation with friends a few times and discovered that how you fold towels is actually important to quite a few people. Kind of like whether the toilet paper comes from the top or bottom, I guess.

This information is really just a prelude to what I realized this morning. I, too, am becoming like that. I may have always been this way and am only just coming to realize it now. Or I am changing - either because I am getting old or perhaps LK's become my role model. It's quite confusing, but it's happening for sure.

It all started to dawn on me this weekend. A couple of friends were visiting Hobart and came over for dinner. Early on he slid one of the lounge room chairs aside in order to look at something on the table.

And then he left the chair where he had moved it, sitting in the middle of nowhere.

Not where it is supposed to be.

And for a very long time, that chair was just about the only thing I could think of. I thought it might be rude to my guest to get up and put it back in its place. But it became clear he wasn't about to put it back. And it just sat there, virtually screaming, "I am not where I belong!"

Finally, I decide he was the rude one for moving it in the first place, and I got up and put it back.

What worries me is that this is not the sort of thing that would have bothered me before. At least I don't think so.

I was thinking about that today while I ironed the sheets I was putting on the bed. Then I realized something else. I was ironing sheets.

I not only iron sheets, I like ironing sheets. I like removing wrinkles. I enjoy watching the spots of water I spray on them disappear under the iron's heat. I love the fact that when the bed is made, it is neat, precise, and wrinkle-free. I have to confess, I have even thought how unfortunate it is that we have to sleep in it and mess it up.

It's not just that, either. I need the kitchen to be tidy. I have to turn on certain lights as soon as it gets dark. I must do my Wii exercises in precisely the same order every time. And so on.

I once prided myself that it was LK and not me who really cared whether the cushions on the bed were zipper-side down.  In fact, I believed I was proving that this precise organization isn't for me because when I make the bed every day I deliberately arrange the cushions slightly differently each time. A little off-center, a little further apart, a little further forward. I now think it is different to me, but probably not to anyone else. With the likely exception of LK.

I am starting to believe that this "variety" is just another way of organizing things precisely. For I did realize this morning that no matter how differently I arrange them, I always put the cushions with their zipper side down.

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