Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chaos Theory

Yesterday (or many yesterdays ago now), I set off to run some errands.  I only live 7 miles from civilization (if Battle Ground fits that bill), but a 14 mile trip for a gallon of milk is foolish on several levels, so I do my best to "bundle" my trips to town. This requires some degree of planning.

Historically, my plan consists of at least four lists: the list I start and then lose, the list I drop in the mud and can no longer read, last week's missing list (I swear I checked that pocket), and the list I scrawl on a napkin on the steering wheel on my way in to run my errands (aka The Final Draft).

Knowing one of my stops is bound to be the grocery store, and being a black belt cheapskate, I remember my coupons. The coupons are in three locations that I am aware of and in no particular order. I grab them from my car door, my back pocket, and my newspaper as I'm leaving.  I hastily ram them into my purse and sift through them at my destination.  At Safeway I consult my napkin, second guess myself on each item, and then discard the list altogether.  I buy eggs, but I don't need eggs.  I already have eggs at home.  What I'm out of is vanilla extract and rye flour, but I'll neglect to buy those items.  I shop, trying diligently to keep my path up and down the aisles to avoid the usual backtrack game.  That lasts two aisles.  The remainder of my shopping map looks like a Spirograph drawing.

After an eternity at the Safeway, I load my car with groceries and search for my list, my master plan, so I can figure out what else I need to do while I'm in "town".  No list to be found (oh, that's right, I ditched it in Safeway, didn't I?).  Hmmm... I know I need to fill up the gas cans, but I forgot them at home.  What else... what else?  F%$# it, I'm going home.  I have a laundry list of incomplete projects there I need to work on and even more projects than that I want to work on.  Whatever else I needed to do will have to wait. 

As soon as I turn onto our road, the other things on my list come flooding back.  As soon as I turn into our driveway, I start seeing things I need to add to one of my home to-do lists.  Looks like the neighbor's roofers wiped out half the hedge.  Maybe it's an improvement, the rest of the property looks like a jungle.  Numbers fell off the mailbox.  Moses... when's the last time I came up to get the mail?  Sheesh.  Gravel.  I should put gravel on my list.  I need to put a few buckets full in that hole.    Damn, I wish it was all just done, I wanted to hit an estate sale or make some art today. Oh, there's where I left my coffee this morning.  Shut it, Barli, it's just me, you dufus.  I have to get the damned weed eater over to that spot by the - oh, that's right... no gas for the weed eater.  Maybe next week. 

I park, overload my arms with groceries, and open the front door with my chin.  Put the bags in the kitchen.  Go back out the front door.  What am I doing out here?  Go back in.  Put away the cereal.  Remember why I was heading outside a minute ago.  Milk's in the car.  Go back out the front.  Car's locked.  Why did I do that?  I never lock my car.  Shake pockets.  No jangle.  What did I do with the stinking keys?  Back inside.  Okay here we are.  Back outside.  I grab the milk then catch my sweater in the closing car door.  Arggh.  

Every week I vow to make it different.  Every week I end up dizzy from turning circles and exasperated by my inharmonious relationship with every other molecule in my universe.  I throw up my hands.  "I quit", I say to no one in particular, "you win, I looeeeew".  That's not a typo.  I stepped in a pile of dog poo.  

Sure, the details vary a little from trip to trip, task to task, week to week, but this is a good example of my modus operandi.  This is my life.  It's exhausting.  I hose off my shoe and set forth to seek the advice of my closest and wisest friend.   

"Google," I ask, "what is wrong with me?  I want to be organized.  The simplest things end up being such a chore because I'm not.  Why is it so hard for me to do what I know 
I need to do? "

Of course, Google has the answer (or rather 1,410,000 of them in .70 seconds).  There's nothing wrong with me, Google consoles, I'm just a creative personality type with ADD tendencies.  It turns out that creatives often suffer from a little thing called chronic disorganization disorder.  According to the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (not kidding, this group exists), the affliction has three distinct symptoms.
  • the persistence of severe disorganization over a long period of time;
  • a daily undermining of one's quality of life by disorganization; and
  • a history of failed self-help efforts.
I write all of this off as a bunch of BS at first, but the more sites I visit and articles I read, the more I start to identify with the diagnosis. I learn about ways people deal with it.  I also find myself comforted in the fact that somebody else knows what's going down (or not going down) in my bean.  Who knew that mattered so much?  Thanks again for your help, Googs.  You're the best.  

Of course, just knowing what ails me doesn't help any more than wishing I was organized does.  I'm still interested in everything, want to do everything, learn everything.  I'm still  disorganized.  I still feel irresponsible and careless.  The hardest part is knowing I could help myself and I don't.  I might not ever.   

Even as I type, I have a zillion other things I could be doing to alleviate the stresses of being a hot scattered mess.  Obvious ways to simplify and organize that would make me better able to do the things I love like painting and drawing and building and writing.  Creating.  That's the stuff creatives do.  I know I should get a grip and a speck of order in my world.  But as is my wont, I'm instead writing about not doing it.  So it goes.  Here's to another day in chaos.  Cheers.   


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the laugh Spring. I am so glad it isn't just me losing the car keys, forgetting why I went into the other room, but still I wonder, just how on earth I remember the words to a song from an old LP record when I was 6 that I used to sing with my cousin...ARGH! Getting old is no fun! I hope we are together in the same old folks home racing our wheel chairs some day in the not so distant future!

    XOXO Jai