I colorize my closet by season, and my kitchen cupboards are organized by end use. OCD or just efficient? You tell me. My niece laughs and says this is “so German”.
It’s not obsessive. It’s a common sense approach to life. I take the long view: a thing I do more efficiently now is less likely to give me a hassle in the future. My position is that I am more Spockian than simply German (like there’s any logic to that).
I am organized. If a thing is in its place, I don’t have to look for it. Unless of course you took it and neglected to put it back. Then you may receive the Alden Glare of Death and become my Focus of Retribution. Not recommended.
I rinse clean my recyclable soda cans and bottles. Not doing so equates in my mind with not flushing a public toilet you’ve used. Yet people bring back trash bags stuffed with grungy cans, adding their flat beer, sugary leavings, butts, and backwash to the putrid gunk that ends up all over the TOMRA recycling machines, making them disgusting for everyone until they go out of order. My returns are neatly stored in their original box, because that is the easiest way to transport them, and placed in optimum position to grab for the scanner. I am eager to leave because it seems every time I enter a Bottle Return Room, I encounter a civilian or two laboring beside a shopping cart overflowing with a congeries of containers that drip suspicious fluids and, in warmer weather, draw flies. Who lives like that? I simply cannot fathom it. Am I that weird? Or are they.
My dad took great pride in being a registered Professional Engineer (PE), which was more than just a license, it was his approach to life. Calm, patient, scrupulously honest, almost detached with curiosity, and ultimately moved by humor. I have such memories of him looking at how stuff worked, taking it apart and putting it back together, sometimes cobbling odd pieces into Rube Goldberg-ian contraptions. They were never artful or even craftsmanlike really, but would work efficiently for what he intended them to do. His whole approach stays with me, him calmly starting at the beginning and working through what he wanted to fix: how did it work, and what step of the process was disconnected? He would lift his glasses against his forehead (he was nearsighted like me) and peer under them as he turned the thing over and over in his hands, studying the details while he mapped it all out in his mind. And then he would do what needed to be done, and the thing would work.
His way was never my way initially; I was always impulsive, impatient, emotional – even rash. But when my task seems especially knotty or daunting, I pause and channel him, breaking it down into an analytical assessment of stages and steps. That’s probably how I developed into an Organizer Type, that plus a little native OCD with a dollop of Aspergers into the mix. Even now I am driven by the conviction that if I am tidy and focused and diligent in my life, things will work out okay. It helps me overcome fear. Thanks Dad. Happy Fathers Day.