……and everything in its place. This is the doctrine of mildly compulsive people like yours truly. And if I lived by myself and never allowed anyone else to enter my weird little world, then I wouldn’t have any problem upholding this belief. However, I don’t live by myself. What’s more, I happen to live in a house with certain others who not only don’t practice this belief, but actively oppose it.
We are forever looking for stuff. I hate to point the finger of blame at specific people, but usually it’s The Grandmother’s fault. Everyone who knows her knows she is a very clean, very active person who is always piddling in something or straightening something. Therein lies the problem. She can walk by, say, a letter some innocent person has clipped to a calendar page, and for some reason, the desire to move this letter to another location overcomes her. She can’t even help herself. Then along comes the innocent person looking for the letter, and it’s gone. Here’s the kicker–The Grandmother can’t remember what she did with it.
To be fair, the stuff usually turns up, albeit after an hour-long and extremely frustrating search, involving a lot of huffy silences periodically punctuated by increasingly snippy comments. But we return to the question: Why did it have to be moved in the first place?
It’s not just The Grandmother. This morning, for example, I went on Red Alert because my daughter’s shoes were missing. I cannot even explain to you the extreme irritation I was experiencing. First of all, it was approximately six in the morning, and let’s just say I’m not at my best early in the morning. Second, I have a very rigid routine each school day, and I do not respond well to unexpected changes in this routine. Clothes are laid out, lunch is packed, the back-pack is by the back door–all the night before. We never over-sleep and we are never late.
Well, all of that went right down the crapper this morning. I went into the laundry room at the appropriate time to get Evelyn’s shoes, except guess what? No shoes. I stood there for a minute like a complete dunce. I didn’t even know what to do next. I was literally paralyzed. I mean, there really wasn’t anywhere else they could be.
Let me digress here for just a moment to say that people who know me talk about how organized I am and how they wish they were as organized as me. What they don’t understand is that I have to keep things where they belong–if I don’t, I’m lost. Yes, I always hang my keys on a hook inside the back door, because if I didn’t, I would never have my keys, ever!
Further digression: I have a friend, and she is a good person that I care deeply about, but she is the most scatterbrained, disorganized person I have ever seen in my life. She has literally lost whole pairs of her son’s shoes, not to mention the time she lost his book bag. I swear I am not making this up. She loses her keys at least once a day. I would kill myself. My organization is little more than self-preservation. It’s survival instinct in its most basic form.
Back to this morning: no shoes. The spot where they should be was ominously empty. I looked in all of the other “shoes places,” though her shoes only ever sit in one place. Still nothing. Time was ticking–I could actually hear the seconds falling dead around me. We went to a soccer game yesterday, and her father brought her in the house, and conceivably removed her shoes. I had to call him on his cell phone at work and ask where the shoes were. He hesitated for a moment, then said, “In the diaper bag.”
So I went upstairs and looked in the bag and hallelujah! There they were. We made it to the bus stop with time to spare.
Still, my whole morning routine was knocked askew by this blatant disregard of proper shoe placement. Really, is it that hard to put shoes, or anything for that matter, back where they came from? This is a battle I fear I will never win. There are just too many people against me. Sometimes I accuse them of purposely hiding things to make me think I’m crazy. Maybe they are just keeping me balanced, so I’m not completely swallowed by my compulsion. So, in other words, their refusal to stop touching my things and their inability to put things back where they belong are really just acts of love.
Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.