Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Dear Most People I Know, here’s a friendly bit of advice,
There is such a thing as having lots and lots of things around, and yet being neat, orderly and not cluttered at all.

There is such a thing as a nearly bare room that’s messy as hell.

To borrow a phraseology from MySQL (you know – the thing to do with databases - those fictitious objects that are jam packed with stuff, and are yet orderly and all that), Quantity <> Clutter.

You know what’s worse than getting stabbed in the guts and bleeding to a slow, inevitable death? It’s having your room (or your cubicle, since I’m corporatized now) called ‘dirty’ after you’ve just spent a week locked in without food and water and air, sorting your monstrous collection of novels alphabetically.

First time I heard such a reaction, being the naturally humble person I am, I assumed I’d missed something cleaning up, and so made a very humble mental note to strive to do things better next time.

Well, humility only gets you so far when you hear the same things over and over again; there eventually comes a point where you stop blaming yourself, and start blaming the other guy.

‘OK, so what exactly do you think is dirty about my room?’ you ask, all bluster and a not a little defensiveness. But before your enemy speaks:

‘By the way, those perfectly sorted piles books in the corner are arranged by genre, and within each pile alphabetically by title. You’re welcome to borrow a couple. Those bedsheets that I’ve neatly folded in ascending order of the hexadecimal representations of their dominant colours, however, please don’t borrow any. I’m running short.’
‘Sorry, you were going to explain why you think my room’s dirty.’

The response will invariably go along these lines:
‘Oh, I don’t know. Just look at all the stuff you have lying around.’

You bristle of course. Understandably.
‘That stuff’s not lying around. Those there are all the writing instruments I’ve got, arranged in increasing order of cost. Those, on the other hand…’

‘Alright, alright. But so much stuff? It looks so cluttered.’

That word, he used that word! That’s the point where you, like all normal people, turn your BeastFace on and bash the other guy’s skull in.

After much deliberation as to the origin of this widespread affliction, I can only conclude that some people’s brains are just wired differently, and I’m being polite here. These people are different in the way three-headed people, two-nosed people and people that have hair growing out of their fingernails are. All hope is not lost, though. I have reason to believe that pictorially augmented repetitive subliminal impartment of corrective information can cure the problem a wee bit. For starters,

Repeat after me slowly: 'This is neat, orderly and not cluttered at all!'

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