Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Am The Eye Of My Own Storm

"...You have a much higher threshold for loose order."

So, perhaps I may have mentioned before: I am kind of a mess.

I am also, however, capable of extreme organization and obsession over details.

I have enjoyed event planning because (I believe) to be truly successful, you need both of these abilities. You need to be able to work amid near-constant chaos, to make sense of chaos, to make chaos work. While not forgetting anything.

I'm sure there are some event people who are SO completely anti-chaos that they wrangle every last ounce of chaos into their well-oiled machine. But those kinds of event people are insane and masochistic and scary, and generally their events aren't any fun at all.

The reason I bring this up is because Ish and I just had a discussion about how "organized" I am compared to one of our best friends, and he described it so well I wanted to share. Because I know there are MANY of you out there who can relate. And I like the visual.

So. Our darling friend is organized. She is also neat and clean. She runs a tight ship. She is a project manager and she gets things done. When there is a list with items that need to be checked off, she will kindly, gently, cordially HUNT YOU DOWN until you do your part to get that item checked off her GODDAMNED list. Thank you so much.

All of her a cappella music is in a binder with alphabetized tabs. All of my a cappella music is in three different stacks, thrown into a bag in a very generalized sort of "order." For instance. And I know that technically, this makes her more "organized" than I am. But I just don't feel disorganized.

Still, as I sat staring at my sad, uneven "stacks" of music with their furled, discolored corners it occurred to me that somehow I manage to walk a fine line between "organized" and "hot, hot mess."

And you know? You'd think that line would be big and fat and bold.

So I asked Ish about this. "Lisa's binder is so nice and neat and organized," I said. "And mine, well, you know my bag of music."

"Yeah. You don't work that way." Ish replied.

"I don't work what way?"

"Well, neat isn't really your thing."

Of course it isn't. I know it isn't. And yet I didn't like hearing that. So I pressed him.

"Okay then. Please tell me what my thing is. Because I really don't feel like I'm disorganized."

"It's not that you're disorganized exactly. It's..." he looked into the air like he was trying to figure out a humorous math equation. And after telling me about my tolerance for loose order (quoted above), he added, "it's like you're the eye of your own hurricane."

"What do you mean?"

"It's like you have a sort of hurricane-- no, tornado of stuff all around you, all the time. But whenever you need something, you know exactly where to reach into that tornado to grab it." As he explained this, he made twirling gestures with both his hands around his head.

I looked at him silently.

He continued with the gestures. "Oh, there's Eve," he reached into the phantom tornado. "She needs to eat now, I'll just put her on the boob." Swish swish swish. "Oh? Your sunglasses? Here they are," he reached into the phantom tornado again. Then he made more twirling, swishing gestures.

And you know? He's totally, totally right. Isn't that a great visual? Almost like something out of Harry Potter. And I wanted to share that with you. For all of you out there walking around in the eye of your own organized tornadoes.

11 comments:

  1. You'd make a great teacher! You start out with all these plans and then you just have to make whatever happens that day work.

    I am organized the same way you are. Any time my husband needs a paper, he's amazed that I know exactly which pile to find it in. My student teacher had the same reaction in my classroom the other day when I was looking for a paper from 2 years ago, walked over to a cabinet, reached into the middle of a stack of papers and pulled it out. The whole filing cabinet thing just doesn't work for me.

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  2. I live in organized chaos. Oh everything has it's place, but it's usually a fairly general spot. Still, I can find anything I need because I put it there. It drives me batty if my mr cleans because he puts things back in places he invents and I can never find anything.

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  3. Chaos. Dear, dear chaos. Yes, I live in a category 5 hurricane, and to the outside world, it looks like FEMA should be called in, but I have it under control (most of the time).

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  4. What a great visual! I tend to live more in the world of tabbed binders but I am always impressed by people who can function in the hurricane. Impressed, and a little jealous.

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  5. HA. I love this. And did Peter appreciate how I took the crazy to another level and gave you a binder with alphabetized tabs? It's exhausting being me...I don't recommend it.

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  6. I've read, I've enjoyed, but I've never commented (I'm sorry, I know that's a habit that sucks)...

    but that post was perfection! So funny!

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  7. I totally, totally understand this. I look up to you, Kristy, and I'm glad to see that this works so well for you - gives me hope that it'll work out well for me, too. :)

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  8. My mom on occasion yells at my father "My uterus is NOT a tracking device" when asked where various things are. I think yours might be...

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  9. That? THAT is an awesome description/visual. Absolutely awesome.

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  10. I've often gotten a visual of myself looking for what I need. It is me, stirring a huge witch-style cauldron of soup, only the soup is made of gloves, electronic gadgets, papers, hair clips, to do lists, etc. I keep dipping the ladle in, bringing it up and examining the contents, hoping to find what I need.

    I loathe this visual. I recently got completely organized and for the first time in My LIfe, everything is in its place. It's like a revelation. Your tornado stresses me out. But that's because unlike you, I do NOT have my own innate sense of order. I could be a better brain surgeon than event planner. (note: I am not a brain surgeon)

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