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It is unnerving to see how much paper has accumulated in the filing cabinets in this house. Note that I didn’t say I had accumulated the paper but the paper has accumulated. Paper makes me passive. Or feel passive. Or passive-aggressive. Sure don’t want to take ownership of much of it. Ok, so it’s not as bad as the photo, but it is utterly not empowering to go through one’s files. It makes me think I’ve been both busy and lazy simultaneously. That I have wasted my life and continue to every minute I spend purging the outdated and extraneous stuff from the damned files or reading things I find interesting in them. It’s that just putting off the inevitable ashes to ashes. It’s more like ash to trash and brain down the drain. Will my children thank me for the load I’m taking off them? That depends on whether the binders of my father’s multi-papered life outlast me. My husband just put a load of them in a container up in the attic. As heavy as it must have been, I feel lighter already. Out of sight–out of mind works so well sometimes. I much prefer it to going out of my mind



The other day I admitted to an old friend that it’s a good thing we live hundreds of miles apart because if we lived in the same city, we couldn’t be friends. She has higher standards for house orderliness than I do.  One visit to my house in certain states of disarray would seal that deal. As it is, I can clean up under pressure when visitors are coming from afar, but other than that, it’s not getting done.

I have high standards, I swear. They’re just hidden under piles of financial statements and newspaper clippings and rough drafts of picture books and James River Park paraphernalia.

I blame my father. Might as well; he’s not around to defend himself. I would occasionally be dragged in to work at his office on school holidays. My tasks included Xeroxing, eating M & Ms, sneaking out of the Xerox room when the machine malfunctioned and it was my fault, and filing papers in the wrong place. I was quite good at that. If I had a question, I might have asked someone in the office once, but when the answer made no sense, my response was to put the paper somewhere–anywhere–so it was unlikely to come back to haunt me–or anyone else. The lack of it probably haunted somebody, but not me, and my father’s employees were too well-mannered to rat out the boss’s daughter.  Mea culpa.

Soon I found my calling as a house painter and never looked back. I never mastered filing either, and right about now I’d better or I’ll be joining my high standards underneath the piles strewn about.  It looks awfully soft and comfy there….

I’m back!