Sunday, April 23, 2006

Paper trail

In a (succesful) effort to avoid working on my play, I have been cleaning the house, which has generally been going swimmingly. Dishes washed, trash taken out, pictures hung, laundry put away, all fine, until today. When pretty much the only thing left for me to clean was my desk. And which forced me to confront my profound fear of paper.

Now, by and large, I am pretty intolerant of phobias. I mean, I understand that they exist and that they can be devastating, but whenever I hear about someone with a phobia, my Puritan ancestry kicks into high gear, and I just want to scold, "Oh, get over it. Whatever, it's just spiders/heights/space aliens/etc." But, I too, am afraid. I am afraid of paper.

I trace part of this to being in a program in which I read about 200 pages a week, almost all of which is Xeroxed or printed and write/revise between 1-40 pages a week. My desk is always cluttered with paper. My bag is always full of paper. I come up with systems, like folders or binders, but they tend to collapse under the sheer volume of paper. Also, much of it is drafts , a special kind of paper hell in which you can be carrying around 300 pages of virtually identical material, demarcated by only the subtlest changes. Add to this, the acculmulation of junk mail, bills, and the occasional wedding invitation or piece of real correspondance that plagues any modern household, and I stop being able to cope. I just let it pile up, until you can't even tell that my 5-foot long desk is made of wood.

I would rather do pretty much any chore that deal with paper. Dishes? Yep. Vacuum? Absolutely. Clean the toilet? No problem. I can even get a kind of karmic peace from scrubbing and scouring. But paper only brings me to a state of twitchy immobility, denial, and rage.

All of which is a long way of saying that on Thursday I called these people.

Which may be the best decision I've made all month.

1 comment:

Nitpicker said...

It's hereditary.
Out in the study, I have an entire laundry basket now filled with paper. (Swept it all in there to "clean up" for house guests.) I do not recommend this approach.