Over the years, my office has become the place where “stuff” comes to die. My desktop is laden with things that need to be filed, a DVD that hasn’t been opened, bills that need to be paid, books that I optimistically hope to read and a few empty soda cans that have not made their way to the recycling bin yet. It wasn’t like this yesterday. Yesterday morning I woke up bright and early to clean the space, shutting down my computer, dusting my desktop and organizing everything into one neat pile before beginning my workday
It lasted for five whole minutes.
“I got the paper for you. I put it on your desk,” my son tells me when I pass him in the hallway.
“The mail came,” my co-parenting partner announces, handing me a swath of advertisements, bills and correspondence.
“I’m not sure where these books go,” Boy Wonder shrugs, balancing a pile of paperbacks on top of the Leaning Tower of Whatnot.
Has he not lived here for five years? We have a library for Heaven’s sake. Books go in the library! Seriously, I would think at the age of 17 he could draw that conclusion if he wanted to.
A few hours later, my man walks in to drop off a bag from Target, a handful of pennies and a few coupons he received with his receipt. Before I can protest, he informs me that the item in the bag was on sale, that he cleaned out the change from the console of his car and that the $.50 off a bag of kitty litter was a bonus. (Did I mention that I don’t have a cat?)
I’m not sure why my family thinks that I need all of these things on my desk and in my life at the exact moment, but they do and they genuinely think they are doing me a favor. They claim they don’t want to throw something away that might be important, don’t want to mess up my system and a host of other excuses, but bottom line I think their little “hand off” serves a dual purpose. It enables them to pass the buck while still appearing that they have done something productive. It never once occurs to anyone that they haven’t helped me out at all, but rather-given me one more thing to do.
Still, I shove some things aside, watch as books topple to the floor, and move the newspaper under my right leg while they walk off satisfied in the knowledge that I am keeping the whirling vortex of our lives in motion on a 2’x3’ surface.
“I got some pizza as well. I’ll bring some up to you in a little bit,” he adds, walking out the door. “You may want to clear a space for it.”
I bite my tongue to refrain from saying something I might regret but you can be sure I have a pretty good idea of where I would like to put it.