Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have decided I must have a syndrome. Everyone should have at least one, you know, and I've been looking for mine. Well, here it is: Order Aversion Syndrome (OAS). I'm pretty sure I've always had it, but new advances have allowed me to finally diagnose it. You might have it, too. In the hope that I can help others, I'll just tell you my story. I don't know how the disorder got started. My mother is tidy, my father is not untidy, my sister is obsessively extra-neat. My husband is tidy tidier than me, and so are my kids. For real, and that's bad.

My front closet floor is piled high with a mixture of shoes, boots, hats, coats, shopping bags and empty wine bottles. My pans are stored in three different places in the kitchen, intermixed with storage containers and mixing bowls. When I go to put one away, my disorder causes me to place it totally at random. I am unable to fold clothes or towels the same way twice. Sometimes I just shove things in drawers, of course, or just leave them in the laundry basket until Godzilla could hide in there, but sometimes I do fold. Usually when I'm trying to avoid something even more unpleasant. Because my disorder renders me unable to fold a series of items all the same way, my laundry stacks look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This, as you might imagine, is very unsatisfying, thus reducing the probability that I will fold again anytime in the near future. See how insidious it is? My books are piled willy-nilly on bookshelves in four rooms. Amelia Bedelia might be next to 'Bowling Alone', or she might be next to 'Positive Discipline' or she might be next to 'Rocks and Minerals'. Who knows? The disorder makes it a crapshoot every time!

Oh, I've tried all sorts treatments for the disorder, believe you me. I've bought an organizer and scheduled tidy tasks: clean the bathrooms on Tuesday morning; mop the floors on Friday afternoon, and so on. I've tried the Flylady, and really, she just annoys me. I've borrowed a friend's labelmaker and labeled all the shelves and drawers. I swear, she made it sound like the thing had magical powers, but unfortunately, it didn't transform my home into a serene oasis of order and beauty, although I DID think I saw a golden unicorn dancing around behind the dusty blinds. I was going to link to her here but then I realized she might get mad at me for making fun of her labelmaker. To be fair, it's a LOVELY labelmaker and I'm sure that any less-than-optimal outcomes were solely the result of operator error. And, of course, I've devised all sorts of brilliant labor-saving cleaning schemes, for which I am STILL unrecognized by the Nobel or any other prize committee.

But now, I'm done. Done trying to fit in. Done trying to conform to your orderly world. I don't have to have neatly folded clothes or pans that can be located. It's just not for me. And if it takes too long to find Amelia Bedelia, maybe we'll find Mrs. Piggle Wiggle where it fell down behind Little House on the Prairie, and read that instead, and that's order enough for me.


Helen said...

Can you start a support group? It doesn't have to be orderly, but no one understands what it's like to be me.

Carol said...

In order to preserve what credibility you may have left, perhaps you should change the reference to your mother to "somewhat tidy" - and that is a stretch!