Before pimples, braces, film school, New York and coffee addiction, there was Garden elementary school (in Riverside, CA). It produced well-behaved and impeccably mannered private school children. Inevitably, I was the lone rebel.
Staring at brick walls, detention, and infamous phone calls with my parents remained a mainstay of elementary school memories. Nothing symbolized my zany brain like my desk.
Fridays were known as feather duster day. Our principal would tour the classrooms. The class with the cleanest desk would win the feather duster and receive additional recess time.
When the class would lift their desk’s interiors, books and paperwork became a shrine to organization. Nervously, I awaited her reaction when she peered into my desk.
Books from Charlotte’s Web to Fudge-A-Mania were scattered. Crumbled paper work, broken pencils and cassette tapes representing 90’s grunge were a shrine to childhood disorganization. Her eyes widened in disgust. “Mr. Alas, your desk is a mess,” my principal would proclaim.
Naturally, the well-organized future lawyers and doctors of the class were displeased. They gave me the death stare. I shrugged my shoulders and threw more crumbled up paper planes into my desk.
Eventually life took me to Geekdom. It’s what I lovingly call my New York City apartment. It remains a shrine to geeky living. The Star Wars theme played on repeat.
Like Mars, it was desolate. I had always been the only inhabitant. It’s served as an ideal retreat from the annoyances of Manhattan’s glittery existence.
Aliens, dinosaurs, and unicorns paraded freely as figments of my imagination. Geekdom resembled my elementary school desk perfectly. It was cluttered.
The closet and kitchen cabinets had been filled to the brim with linens, books and old paperwork. Wall Portraits were lopsided. My bed hadn’t been made. I was drowning in a sea of clutter.
Everyday, I walked in and declared, “today, I will organize my apartment.” When I actually arrived in my home, nothing was actually cleaned. The tiny hills of paper work, clothes and books threatened to obstruct my sanity.
I laughed off my disregard for organization. Lovingly, I declared it, “creative chaos.” With the embrace of chaos, I grew tired of dramatic expeditions to find a missing Isabelle Allende novel or that black cardigan.
I grew tired of digging. On a spectacularly spring morning, I uncluttered Geekdom. The man made hills were flattened. Exotic novels discovered. Sanity emerged from the rubble.
Geekdom was resurrected for my alien, unicorn, and dinosaur friends to stroll freely (without tripping on random boxes). I was delighted, too. Shockingly, I grew to enjoy the perfectly organized closet and book collection. It brought continued peace into my unconventional existence.
However, I wouldn’t take a one-way trip to Type-A personality land. I still needed that one cabinet filled with crumbled-up paper work and magazines. Disorganization exudes comfort. It reminds me of my childhood and chaos, which remains inspirational.
No feather duster days here. I was proudly disorganized. Even in a Type-A world, I stayed true to my Type-B self. No brick walls to stare at, just art formed in the hills of used books, sneakers, and cardigans. It was home. It was Geekdom.