Once every half-decade or so I get the urge to set my house in order. I don't get the urge to clean, mind you,* but I do get the urge to collect the various piles of paperwork, bills, work papers, personal papers, correspondence, and pictures that I often stash in various rooms and nooks and crannies, and get them organized in some way. Both of the men I have lived with as an adult (my brother and my husband) have commented that I don't bring much in the way of knick-knacks into the house ("for a woman"), but I do move in a kind of perma-clutter of paper and books. Fair enough. Either the women I have lived with didn't mind this as much, or they had the good grace not to mention it.
So as I was filing papers the other day, I came across an envelope full of strange odds and ends that I had kept from previous jobs. I still have the lengthy note some teenagers once left me when I was a waitress working at Country Kitchen, apologizing that they only had a little change left over for my tip; I also kept the note a co-worker wrote me at a different job, after I took some abuse from a nasty customer (it says: "Yup, everyone's out to rip you off, just you, asshole."). And I have a little note that a patron from the last library I worked at wrote me after I made him up a list of nonfiction titles I thought he might enjoy. In the note he thanks me for the list, but the pertinent part is this:
"I am presently reading Omnivore's Delight [editor's note: he means Omnivore's Dilemma]. The book is full of information but a little too much of himself for me."
In light of our past conversations here about Michael Pollan, I found that quite hilarious. And I had totally forgotten this note. I'm keeping it, but I am going to file it away in a better place than at the bottom of my phone table. Wherever that patron is, I hope he has a summer of reading only great nonfiction.
*I do clean after I organize, but only in a half-ass way that doesn't involve actually washing anything or moving furniture.