30 Years To Get This Color

I am never organized enough.

I believe that there are people in this world who were simply born organized. The kinds of people who not only own matching bras and panties, but who actually manage to wear them together, probably with an outfit that complements the bra and panty set.

Or like, okay -- here's an example of two people who were born organized: A friend of a friend decided to move in with her boyfriend. They were each moving from their sole apartments to a new place they would share. Once they found their new apartent, they then went to great lengths to figure out where everything they owned would go in it. Everything. I mean, they measured every drawer and cabinet. Every hallway and closet. They identified where every one of their respective possessions (the ones they were keeping) would go. And then...well...you know what they did? They packed and labeled the boxes according to where the contents would go.

Oh, but I don't just mean like, "living room" or "dining room." I mean, "Living room. Bookshelves to the left of window. Left side. Top shelf."

Every single thing they owned got put into a shelf- or corner-specific box. Unpacking was a cinch.

And that kind of organized? That you're just born with. There is no other earthly explanation. (I just have to assume that that kind of person is no fun in bed.)

Then there are people like me. People who are organized simply because we have decided to be. Kind of like how a gangly teenager who can't catch a ball to save his life might decide to spend hours in the gym on the treadmill and lifting weights instead. You know? He'll work out regularly, and probably grow to be considered "athletic" by most standards.

Just don't throw him a football.

So I decided a long time ago that I would do myself a favor and get organized. Be organized.

I do have a natural inclination to think of details (I also have a natural inclination to forget them, but shush, we'll get to that) others might miss, because I believe I have a natural ability to perceive what others are perceiving. Managing events is a lot about this -- thinking of how the attendee will feel, and planning the elements that will make her feel most comfortable.


Because organization is not my natural state, I have to work hard at it. I have to be ever-vigilant, or else it will become readily apparent that I'm actually a gangly teenager. (By which I mean likely to live in complete dissaray, never knowing if, for example, I EVER owned a match for that sock, or that earring, and remember that time I accidentally left my cell phone in the refrigerator?)

Thus, over the years I have had to come up with disarray-proof ways of foiling myself.

Two rules have helped in particular:
1. Write everything down.
2. Write everything down in the same place.

The "in the same place" is key, lemme tell you. It does no good to have three (or four) separate notebooks going at work. Plus post-its. Plus electronic notes.

And yet, "in the same place" doesn't even matter if the notes themselves aren't coherent.

I posted about this a long time ago, when I found a VERY HELPFUL post-it on my desk. And it would seem that in the many months since that entry, I have gotten better.

Oh, I got good at writing things down and at keeping them all in the same place.
For the record, or those of you seeking tips:
  • Work to-dos go into my little work notebook. It comes with me everywhere.
  • Longer writings (like blog drafts), get saved in the "drafts" folder of my gmail account, for access anywhere with an Internet connection.
  • If I have brainstorms about potentially funny stand-up bits, I write them in my journal notebook OR on the "stickies" on my computer. (For those of you who might not know, "stickies" are post-it looking things that you just write and keep on your computer's desktop. I use them for quick ideas, usually blog posts.)

But it turns out I've only just barely gotten better about writing coherent notes, especially those to myself. As today, in opening the "stickies" to see what gems of blog fodder I'd hidden away for use later --

(Because I should note that as soon as I've gone a while not blogging, I feel pressure to write something good. Oh well.)

-- and found this awesome idea:
30 years to get this color

Oh! Oh yes! THAT. THAT brilliant post. The one about THE COLOR.

Honestly, I have zero idea of what I could have possibly meant. What color? What 30 years? Did I mean me? That it's taken me 30 years to turn a certain color? And just what color would that be? I'm the same damn color I've always been, as far as I can tell.

Was someone mixing paint? Was someone changing the color of their hallway more times than I? So that it took them 30 years to get the right color?

Hair dye?

Finding the right magic marker?

Your guess is as good as mine.

And despite my best efforts, my organizationally challenged DNA strikes again.


  1. Were you high?

    In my deep dark past, I came up with brilliant musings about how long it took me to get to "this point" whatever this point was (ability to read my dog's mind/comprehension of racial inequities/themes within music/whatever) but always always, I was sadly high and my oh so fantastic discovery was lost to the purple haze, once I sobered up, no matter how many notes I wrote myself.

    On the other hand, I also found myself innately more capable of organization when I am high. Too bad I don't get high anymore. I don't write incomprehensible notes anymore, but I never put anything in the file cabinets anymore either.

    So. Color? High? Maybe? Or drunk?

  2. yeah, i used to always find matchbooks in my pockets with notes scrawled in them saying things like "REMEMBER THIS MOMENT!" and "IT'S ALL HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!"

    thanks, me, that's very helpful.

  3. I love that I can take some little thing, say a very important piece of plastic something that belongs to my video camera, and I will put it someplace VERY SPECIAL that I can't possibly forget where I put it.

    And then I promptly forget where. I remember that it's someplace special, but have NO idea what particular nook or cranny I might have deemed special enough for that little piece of plastic that I desperately need now that I want to use my camera.


    And let's not get started on my own little notation system, that not only doesn't make sense, but is often written illegibly, or in some shorthand code that I'm "certain I will be able to decipher later."

    Yeah. Right.

  4. BTW, have any of you seen the pair of family radios my wife and I bought for when we go to the mall?

    We used them exactly one time. The charger base is in the computer room right where it belongs but we haven't seen the radios since last Christmas and we'll be needing them again soon.

    Now I'm not accusing anyone but if they show up back in their stand all will be forgiven.

  5. I love the phantom phone numbers on the grocery list, the mortgage statement, the top of the newspaper--anywhere I can scribble in a pinch. Then, hours, days, or weeks later, when I discover the number, I have no idea whose number it is. Sometimes the number is Googleable, but generally, the mystery remains unsolved.

  6. Maybe it was a moment of hyperbole in describing your painting and repainting to get the perfect shade for your hallway? :P

  7. I love it! I am similar to you in that some things are really organized, other things are a disaster area.

    I always say to myself "Oh, I'll remember that" in order to not go write it down somewhere because that would be hard. I never, ever remember the thing I think I will never forget.

    What is it they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? That it is the definition of insanity? Yes, well. Hm. Okay then.

  8. I would probably have had my own Comedy Central half-hour by now if I knew what I had been thinking when I wrote "splenda" in my notebook a year ago.

  9. i write phone #s on things far too often. i can't count the number of times i've required a phone number, and found myself running around, turning my apartment inside out, and yelling at my boyfriend, "but i do KNOW where it is! it's on the direct loans envelope that was on the tv yesterday. i moved it to be sure it was in a good spot. can't you just help me find it?" you'd think i'd learn a lesson one of the many times this happened. nope. next week will likely be just the same.

  10. Everything that seems like stuff that could be used some day goes into a "speech file". Newspaper clippings, jotted down ideas, commencement speeches, blurbs from starbuck cups, good ideas, photo copies of stuff, great songs to remember for use at weddings, funerals, etc... saved in the "speech file". it becomes something to really take care of, something cherished in a way. and at least i know where special somethings are kept.

  11. I have to take issue with your statement that you just have to assume that that kind of person is no fun in bed. What a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of us who appear to be "organized", have to be because we're so disorganized. If we don't label our boxes, and put our keys in the same place every time, we'll never know where anything is. In bed, we know where everything is and that's the one place we can let go and embrace our true free thinking, carefree, let it all go, creative side that gets us in trouble everywhere else.

  12. I see right thru you... all this to tell us you're good in bed!

  13. I'm the most disorganized person I know... with the exception of my mother... ask anyone I know or work with. But, um, my bra always matches my panties. Perhaps my way of claiming some shred of control in the chaos?

  14. i see through it too- a) it was meant to be funny, and b) taking offense shows how uptight the really organized labelers can be.

  15. anon 7:52 - no. i never get high, and i'm certain i wasn't drunk. which only makes this more confounding.

    anon 2:13 - well, at least you know you were having a good time, whatever it was you were doing. :)

    jester - omg, i am SO all about the "special" places. i usually don't find them until it's time for me to move out.

    jerry - hahaha, i LOVE couples who do the walkie-talkie shopping thing! i saw that once years ago and thought it was brilliant! guess you can just use your cell phones instead, huh? not nearly as fun, but...

    tyra - can i just say that based on that one photo of you, i love your hair? anyway, i am likewise guilty of the phantom phone numbers that i MUST save, even though i'll never know whose they are.

    serre - it's entirely possible. i honestly have NO IDEA.

    OC - if you are insane, you have a lovely way with it. :) but yes, the "i don't need to be more specific because of COURSE i'll know what i mean" just never works out. sigh.

    ish - thankfully, you were more explicit with your idea of "crocheted vibrator cozy." still waiting for you to write *that* joke.

    melissa - i wholeheartedly believe that if you *know* where you wrote it down -- even if that "where" has moved -- that's the same as being organized.

    lisa - that's a good idea, though i'd just have to make an alternative digital one. and still be a little more explicit in what the hell i'm trying to say.

    anon 1:31 - um, no, that was my point! that i'm organized (usually) because i have to be. because if i weren't, i'd live my entire life wearing mismatched everything. and that those of us who are born disorganized (regardless of whether we have learned to foil it) are also more likely to be more disorganized (read: fun) in bed. and i draw this conclusion based on nothing except i like thinking it. in any case, we are saying the same thing.

    slopmaster - do you know anyone who thinks they aren't? :)

    RG - i am in awe. you have a gift. i'm glad you put it to good use.

  16. From anon 1:31 - Oh good Kiki, I'm glad you got the tongue in cheek humour I intended instead of missing the whole point like Melissa did.

  17. me? not so organized. can't even fake it.

    i once started packing for a move at midnight when my entire family was showing up at 9 am to start carrying boxes. and of course i closed my eyes "just for a minute" around 3 am only to wake up close to 8:30. my helpers were furious, but amazing...they packed and moved me. i am so blessed with enablers...


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