Sunday, January 23, 2005

The weight of paper.

I'm pretty good at keeping up with the dishes. I make my bed every day. I vacuum at least once a week. Mildew rarely shows its face in my bathroom. I'm even pretty good about dusting. But you know what I suck at? Dealing with paper.

My house is generally a semi-neat place. It is by no means immaculate in that anal-retentive, "I have nothing better to do with my time than personally lick my shower grout to a sparkling finish" way. But, it is also not slovenly in that "I was saving that pop-tart inbetween the couch cushions for later" kind of way. I'd say my house falls distinctly inbetween. It's generally pretty clean, is rarely offensive, but is rarely superlative, either. I do a decent job.

That is, I do a decent job until the mail arrives, or I get a magazine, or I print a recipe. Then all hell breaks loose.

Well, not "all hell," per se. Just piles. Piles break loose. Piles of envelopes, of random paper and recipes and magazines, knitting patterns and receipts. They accumulate. I start with one pile, and then I get a second one (sometimes, embarrassingly enough, right next to the first one). Sometimes there's even a third pile. And once I have the piles, I just keep adding to them. So they cease to be piles and become a sort of tower. I occasionally even have long-haired princesses leaning out from the tops of them, saying wistfully, "Won't someone come rescue me?"

I think the Pile-Creator is kind of like an alchoholic. Just as the alchoholic hides booze in different rooms, so does the pile-creator create piles in different rooms. As if you can walk from the living room (where Pile #1 teeters) into the kitchen (where Pile #2 sulks in an unused corner) and somehow rationalize that you don't really have a pile problem. See, there's only one pile in sight! But then you add to the pile in one room. And then you go to the other room and add to the pile in the other room, and before you know it, you're falling over drunk, dancing on tables due to an excess of paper.

So today, I resolved (as I do once every six months or so...okay, maybe 8 months. Okay, 12?) to get rid of my piles of paper. I was going to file things that needed to be filed and pitch things that needed to be pitched. An hour or two later, I've made significant progress. The pile that remains is mostly recipes in the kitchen. I seem to have a recipe pile. I'm an advanced piler. A SPECIALIZED piler. But the piles of bill stubs in the living room have been tamed, and I do feel better for it.

Do you think maybe the free-flowing glasses of 2002 Black Granite Shiraz and the salacious True Hollywood Story on "The Price Is Right" helped significantly? I think it might.


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