Day: September 8, 2020

(Mal)Adjusting, Part II: It’s Nearly Fall, and I Think She’s Nesting

Sometimes people ask me if the human female is good for anything. “You talk her down a lot, Loki,” they say. “Surely she must have some talent.” To which I invariably reply, “Of course! She is is an absolute champ at deluding herself.

She had the crazy idea that if she worked hard at it during the year before she retired, getting everything clean and sorted and repaired in the house and all her occupational and spiritual waterfowl linearly configured, she could retire into pleasant, organized calm, with nothing to do except enjoy her leisure.

Snort! It’s like she doesn’t even know me.

I filled the past year with so much other mischief that she never had time, and all the projects she wanted to tackle are facing her now. Nothing for it but to tackle them all one by one.

Must. Accomplish. All. The. Things!

Ah. It appears that today she is sorting paper. Yes, more paper. You see, she has a very magpie brain, always seizing on shiny bits of wisdom or inspiring quotes. She hears about a book she wants to read. She writes it down. She sees two words in juxtaposition that make a funny band name. She writes it down. She hears a piece of music she wants to remember. She writes it down. She finds a new sort of thread with pretty colors and decides which are her favorites. She writes it down. And despite the fact that she owns her weight in cunning little notebooks, she always writes things down on scraps of paper or sticky notes or napkins or the backs of important documents. Every desk she’s ever had looks like an autumn landscape, but with bits of paper instead of drifts of leaves.

A giant stack of such flotsam came home from the campus with her. Dealing with it is her self-appointed Functional Adult Task today. And, yes, she is using her usual method:

Select scrap of paper. Decipher scrawl. Transcribe to cunning notebook. Drop on floor. Select scrap of paper. Wonder why the scrawl was important. Drop on floor. Select scrap of paper. Recall that she has already read the book. Drop on floor. Etc., etc., ad locavit effultum foliis seorsum iacuit super terram.

I agree with you, Taffy. Dealing with one mess by making another is hardly productive.


She has spent a good portion of the day out at the herbarium, carving out for herself a little office where she can keep the botany books she brought from her office (nobody wanted them), her dissecting tools, her giant bean pod–mustn’t forget the giant bean pod!–and her favorite of the cloth posters she drew back when she was teaching botany a million years ago.

Much sorting and shelving and sweeping up of old mouse poo later:

Maybe it’s progress after all.

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