Monday, December 21, 2015

Where is it?!?

I just needed a postage stamp.  I keep all my stamps in a cellophane envelope I got from the post office. The envelope sits in the same slot in the vertical holder on my desk that it has sat in for years. Except that this time, it isn’t there.

     [Little interlude for a tantrum. I hate when things get lost!]

My things have places. My world is a world where things have places. Maybe their place was assigned by me, but I did that with care, forethought, and a bit of obsessive-compulsiveness. It’s a kind of subconscious calculation of frequency of use, ease of retrieval, and hierarchy of need: the stamps earned a top-of-the-desk honor position. Envelopes and stationery don’t merit that kind of position; they’re in drawers. Even the scissors are in a drawer.
But the stamps should be right where they’re supposed to be! Now is where I remind myself that I’d conscientiously bought lots of Forever stamps years ago before the price of stamps went up. Losing my stamps is like losing a gift card.

I’m a little concerned it’s like the disappearance of the paper cutter (which I believe got caught up in the paper recycling and was nevermore). Maybe I took the stamps with me to the post office to attach the right number of stamps and left the cellophane envelope on the car seat with old newspaper circulars. The thing is, if they were in the house, they would automatically head to their designated spot. I’ve trained them.

Not like the AIDS memorial quilt thank you. That could be anywhere. On World AIDS Day, I discovered Four A’s had brought some portions of the AIDS quilt here for a ceremony. Back in 1989, I was working for FedEx and got them to ship up the AIDS quilt as a public service. I’d known Cleve Jones with the NAMES Project when I’d lived in San Francisco and he started the quilt, and afterwards, he’d framed a thank you for me. I thought I’d bring the framed thank you to Four A’s and give it to them. My clutter going to the perfect place where it would be appreciated as treasure!
Except I couldn’t find it. Now I can’t remember if I de-cluttered it entirely, took it out of the frame and put it in a skinnier spot (like a file), or just can’t locate it. I tore the house apart.

This is the problem with de-cluttering: you’re never quite sure if you still have it or not. And if you have it, it no longer has a designated spot.

I have always said things aren’t lost, it’s just that people stop looking for them. (I once found my contact lens on a beach.) In his blog, Steve says he cleans up “instead of looking for something, which always leads to frustration because I never find it; but if I clean up, I’ll find other things and get something done even if I don’t find what I was looking for.”

Okay, I did get a lot done instead of finding the stamps or the thank you. But that doesn’t lessen this unease I feel about things not in their places. Like, what other disorder is operating in my universe? Maybe I’m watching a few too many Star Wars episodes (VI tonight and then I’m ready for VII), but it’s like a disturbance in the Force when things go missing.

I should practice being the kind of person who just says, “It’ll turn up,” and relaxes about it. Instead of being the kind of person who keeps tearing the place apart looking.
“Okay, it’ll turn up.”

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