I am a horrible slob.
I cringe a little as I put that in writing, because I'm not sure my gentleman friend has realized this about me yet. We've resided under the same roof for almost a year now, but nine months of that was with the housemates. It was easy to point fingers at them as the root of all slovenly behavior in the household (though admittedly I had a tough time convincing him they were responsible for the lipstick on the milk carton).
But we've lived in our own place a little over two months now, and I suspect my untidy nature has become apparent. He hasn't fled yet, though that's probably because there's a large stack of books and laundry blocking the door.
When I'm cranking hard on a book deadline, I give up on even the most basic desk tidying efforts. A week ago, I sat mindlessly munching from a bowl of grapes while I typed with one hand. By Friday, the bowl was buried under a layer of papers with a dozen grapes shriveling beneath them and I thought, "those can stay there 'til I meet my Thanksgiving deadline."
It was getting pretty bad.
So when I headed down to my office for some early morning writing on Sunday, I felt the usual pang of disappointment upon seeing the housekeeping fairies had not arrived in the night to clean and organize my workspace. Then I steeled my resolve to finish this book in six weeks and then clean my desk. I shoved aside the withered grapes, a leaky tube of hand cream, and enough paperwork to make the world's largest papier-mâché phallus, and I got to work.
At least, that's what I tried to do. Within five minutes, I discovered my laptop had other ideas. It refused to start, no matter how many tech-savvy strategies I employed. (Note: My tech-savvy strategies include turning the computer off and on, unplugging and replugging all the cords, picking it up and shaking it, smacking it with the palm of my hand, and cursing at it).
When none of my methods worked, I was forced to accept that my computer was taking a good long nap. A close friend is a skilled computer repair guy, but he's out of town until Thursday. My last backup of the manuscript was over a week ago, but I tried hard not to dwell on that. For me, trying not to dwell involves staying busy.
So I got to work cleaning my desk. I filed papers, organized pens, dumped out moldy grapes, and even took a bottle of Windex to my glass desktop (a surface I hadn't seen for two months). By the time I finished, I was so pleased with the results that I got busy organizing the top of my dresser. Then I vacuumed the bedroom. Then I laid down in the driveway and took a nap (what? The concrete was nice and warm).
My computer still isn't fixed, but I've managed not to panic. My gentleman friend offered me the use of his computer for now, and we're both fairly confident mine is repairable. In the meantime, having a clean desktop has me feeling downright happy to walk into my office right now.
Why do I always forget that aspect of tidying? I get mired in the belief that I can't possibly spare the hour it would take to organize my workspace, and I completely forget how wonderful it feels to have a sparkling clean desk. To spend my writing days knowing exactly where to find that pen or that notepad or those research notes on the mating habits of porcupines.
Are you a slob, a neat freak, or something in between? Do you ever catch yourself thinking you can't spare the time to perform a task you know damn well will make a huge difference in your overall well-being? Please share!
I'm going to go curse at my laptop again. This time, it might just work.