Reub's journey

29 January 2011

I am messy

I am a messy person who would really like to be neater, no scrap that, because if I really wanted to be neater I would be, right? At work, two years running, I have asked my boss to have my professional goal for the year be: "To Not be a Fire Hazard." Seriously, last year the city fire marshal wrote me up, so consequently the school's head custodian sheepishly asked me to clean up although he added he didn't think it was really fair because after all,  in his words "it IS the ART ROOM." My boss, who is young enough to be my offspring but mature enough to be my mother,  laughingly agreed that I could keep that as my professional goal even though my colleagues were listing much higher-sounding goals. She suggested that I choose a buddy to help me overcome my problem. She said the person could help me go through stuff, hold it up, and say "Keep or toss?"

Are you kidding? That wouldn't help at all. I would cry "KEEP!!!" every time. This is because experience has taught me that every time I toss something I will diabolically need it within 3 months of the toss date. 

After the fire marshal's visit a year ago, I ditched two boxes of ugly fabric scraps which had been sitting around for 8 years; shortly thereafter I suddenly decided that my alternative ed students would benefit by making looms and ripping up (ugly) fabric scraps to create amazing rag rugs. I had to go beg the Home Ec (now called Family and Consumer Studies) teacher for some stuff that she had (far more neatly) been stockpiling. Unsurprisingly she gave me a ton of truly not-tasteful stuff which my alt-ed boys gloriously ripped into strips and wove into cool long rectangles which they then refused to delegate to a communal rug-made-of-strips. Instead, they each had their own Very Odd Scarf. Oh well.

Back to my point, which is that I am a messy person who is only momentarily contrite. Like last night when, immediately after driving home from work and just 30 minutes before we were supposed to pick up another couple, I noticed that the car was filthy. Grabbing a bucket of water there was just enough time to wash half the car before rushing in to change my paint-be-speckled work clothes for something spiffier.Which half of the car to wash? Why, the half that the other people would see, silly. Just so you know how deep my problem is, I later regretted washing the car at all, because by the time we picked them up it was dark.


  1. Oh everyone ought to have a Very Odd Scarf and pair it with a Truly Peculiar Hat. If there are Gloves that Defy Description in the mix? All the better.

    Well, here's the thing. You are a messy, it's part of you. To wish yourself neat, tidy, organized would certainly free up closet space, but what else might it do? If you had to run around straightening things up constantly you might miss doing something important. Like helping to create Very Odd Scarves.

    There are too many well-organized closets in this world and most of the scarves are mundane. Coincidence? I think not!

    By the way, thank you. I do appreciate the comment over on my blog. You should have seen the number of spam comments I deleted. The vast majority for sex toys and several attempts at religious conversion. Coincidence? We can only hope ;-)

  2. I can totally relate. I'm a ver messy person too.

  3. What a great post! One of my art teachers always said that creativity requires a messy workspace. You're not a fire hazard, you're an artist!

  4. So funny! Just be yourself. And when ever I throw something out it is like...3 days...and I need it again.

  5. Well now, I wish I were less tidy.

    I had a possible new cleaner come to audition and she said she'd be happy to work for me because "your house is really tidy, no clutter."

    My desk at work - and here at home - always looks/ed like I never had anything to do. I had only ever the papers for the job in hand out and always put them away tidily as soon as the job was finished.

    I am physically unable to tolerate clutter. My poor husband is a mess, how we live together is a riddle.

  6. who are your alt-ed boys?

    You have company, I don't like tidying up.

  7. Ah, Land of Shimp, I feel a little vindicated by what you say. Still, I am envious of people who are organized and neat. In some ways they have a head-start on me, like I KNOW they will find their keys faster than I ever will. Can they work with middle-school boys, negotiating art? I don't know. I fancy that I might be better than they are at this.

    JarieLyn, Hold my hand and we will jump into the Giant Mess, joyfully, together.

    Reya, I am the hands-down messiest art teacher in town. I think that I might be just...lazy? Because I see that the others are really great teachers and somehow they are also neater. At least when I visit them. But maybe they know I am coming, and have cleaned up, like me washing (half of) the stupid car?

    Rebecca: Thank god this happens to other people, not just me. When I read about "hoarders" in the newspaper, I wonder if they have had this happen once too often: "WHOOPS, dammit, I just threw that away!"

    Friko: Ha! You have a cleaner, and you don't really need one. That means you are truly tidy. It is funny how there are 2 types of people: tidy and not-tidy. We are usually married to one another! My husband is much neater than I am. Much.

    Rebecca: You know that I adore you, right? Isn't it crazy how you can keep something, then decide to part with it, and very soon thereafter...doggone it...

    Ann: Alternative education defies description, but many public school systems here in the US have a slot for kids who, for various reasons, are not being successful in the general (sometimes rather large) classroom. They are not learning. They need to be in small-group situations. They have emotional needs. Their family situations are fragile. They have hearing loss. They aren't being served well in "Special Ed." They defy authority but bond with individual adults. I love my alt ed kids, a class of six.


Talk to me.