Organize or bust

March 13, 2012

I love to be organized.

Place that delicious quality next to a gooey, mountainous piece of chocolate cake and it’s a toss-up as to which I would lunge for first.

To-do lists scrawled in hurried pencil marks, a dry-erase board filled with random words translated into not-to-be-forgotten tasks, open magazines dog-eared with articles of interesting tidbits that I vow to read and then tuck into my brain meant for a later date.

I’ve always fantasized about being that girl at the dinner party who can break the silence with a “if the amount of glass bottles that Americans fail to recycle per year were placed from end to end around the globe, they would circle the earth 80 times” fact.

That must be why I became a reporter long before I realized where I was actually going in my career. I had been unknowingly investigating for years. My endless questions to piece together a story—to understand why this person did that and what time he arrived to lunch and where he was before. Basically, it allows me to be nosy and not worry about the bluntness of my oblivious cross-examinations.

My level of organization has become, through the years, a means of pride and a gauge of my self-worth. I don’t want to brag, but I’m somewhat known for it. If I come running into work with my shirt untucked and hair askew, they check my temperature. If I’m late for an appointment with a friend, she tells me to sit down, I don’t look well. Those side effects I can deal with. I take them as compliments.

What stings me to the core, however, is the cinching knots that start in my stomach and rise up into my throat as I sit in traffic, knowing that someone is waiting on me.

Forget the fact that the other person may be late as well or that she might welcome a moment of solitude or that her day hasn’t been incremented so tightly so as to only allot for a 30-minute discussion before she has to move on.

Just me then?

But, striving to find the positive, I think that, my obvious obsession with perfection aside, is that I view my and others’ time as valuable. Unforeseen events happen, but every minute I’m late is a minute I show you that you’re not that important to me.

Too extreme? Maybe a little. I think I read an article about that.