A Place For Everything
Included among my parents’ many aphorisms is a notable one: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” In this aspect, I have failed them. They’ve known for years of my propensity to stack my desk with so many items that it becomes virtually unusable, but with an entire apartment to manage, new issues crop up: my medicine cabinet is inadequately stocked, kitchen spices are not appropriately organized, and my file folders contain broad, unalphabetized categories. Like an unfortified city in Sid Meier’s Civilization, the apartment’s flag comes under their rulership whenever they visit, and they see fit to reorganize the apartment at will.
I had a chance to reflect on my organizational skills after they left. Things might not be in neat boxes, but I know where they are. I am not in the habit of losing things. I kept these beliefs going until today: laundry day. I picked up my hamper and went to the usual spot to get my detergent, only to find it wasn’t there. Did I leave it in the laundry room the last time I was there? I thought. A dash over there revealed an empty room, and I don’t think my fellow tenants are the type to steal detergent.
I returned to the apartment and searched under the bed, inside my bedroom closet, wondering how I could have misplaced the detergent. I went to the dining room. Did J mistake it for his? No, that would never happen. Then the eureka. My mom did the laundry when she was here. I called home. Voicemail. I called my mom’s cell phone. Voicemail. I put myself in my mother’s place. Now where would I put the detergent if I were her? The second eureka struck like lightning, and I found the detergent immediately.
An hour later, I’m on the phone with my mother. She asks why I called, and I tell her the ordeal. Near the end of our conversation…
“I’m blogging about it as we speak,” I tell her.
“At least you got something out of it,” she tells me. “So are you done with laundry now?”
“Not yet, but as you know, I had a late start,” I respond.
“So you would have been done with the laundry if it hadn’t been for my mistake,” my mom responds in mock sympathy.
“Yeah, pretty much,” I respond in deadpan.
“Foolish, foolish me. Who else but me would think of putting the laundry detergent in so illogical a place as with the other cleaning supplies? Who?”
Minutes later, I head back to the laundry room, pick up the detergent, and return it to its rightful place next to the drawing supplies.