The Grid

I am a relatively orderly person.  I like plans and systems.  I enjoyed studying French via the Pimsleur method, which builds on grammar structures from simple to complex, which is the way I was taught to teach when I taught ESL in NYC.  It makes sense to me. I’m good with languages for this reason – I see the internal logic in them. I was a good teacher of ESL for the same reason. I loved studying for my paralegal certificate; loved the logical, grammar-like structure of law. Writing a brief or choosing a cause of action was this very clean, logical process.  For that matter, I enjoyed diagramming sentences, way back in the Middle Ages when such things were done. I recently passed the membership exam for the National Association of Parliamentarians (yes, there is such a thing and if your reaction to learning that news is, like mine was, “AWESOME!!!” congratulations, you are one of My People) and if you want orderly… well, it says it right there in the title: “Roberts Rules of Order.” Not suggestions, mind you. Rules.

I like schedules and calendars.  I requested from our facilities director “a calendar you could see from space” (in actuality about 3’x2′) which hangs in my workspace so that I can turn my head and see a month spread out in orderly blocks. I’m good at breaking projects into steps and taking things one at a time. And I HATE looking for shit.  I mean, I really, REALLY HATE looking for shit.  When I misplace things I become borderline enraged – I cannot think of a less pleasant way to spend my time than running around trying to track down the location of some damn… thing that I have lost track of. So I rarely lose things – I am the sort of person who always puts her keys in the same place so that I never have to look for them because I HATE LOOKING FOR SHIT.  Of course, this has its pitfalls.  If I mess up and put down the keys six inches from where they are supposed to be, it will take me an hour to find them, and the worst part about traveling for me is that I’m not where all my usual places are and so I feel a little unmoored. I will unpack my suitcase and load the clothes & toiletries into the drawers in a hotel room if I am staying for longer than a night because that way I will have created a place for everything and I will know where all my shit is.  All my plastic food storage containers are organized by shape and size and all the matching lids are in a basket organized the same way. My clothes are in large part organized by color.  I have a file in my desk with the instruction manuals for most of my electric and electronic devices. (That’s for you, Dad!)

And yet.

Why are my finances such a disaster and why is my apartment such a mess? Why am I not getting more things done? I daydream occasionally about dividing my day – all my days – into discrete chunks of time that are devoted to specific activities.

8:00 coffee & newspaper
9:00 run
10:00 shower and get dressed
11:00 clean up kitchen
12:00 clean up office
1:00 clean up living room
2:00 vacuum apartment

This? Is never going to happen.

Why?  Why this strange organizational discrepancy? Why are my jog bras folded neatly in their assigned drawer but my credit card payments occasionally late? Why are my CDs stored in alphabetical order but I couldn’t manage to finish all of the measly three or four tasks I set myself on Sunday? Why do I do the dishes every night before I go to bed but the cooler I borrowed from my mother three weeks ago is still sitting in my living room waiting to be returned? Why are my tights divided into solids, fishnets, and patterns but I get down to  very scarily low sums in my bank accounts between paydays?

Seriously. Someone please solve this for me.  I’m begging you. Someone put me on the grid.


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