Tonight my task was to continue separating all of the duplicates of copies of short stories out of the files, marking any short stories that had doubles, putting originals back in the files, then re-filing (?!) all of the piles of duplicates, only not in a filing cabinet: in a fucking copy paper box, inside which I am expected to reorganize them alphabetically by author and label them with yellow Post-Its that stick up a little bit so you can see the author’s last name.
Is it just me, or does this seem like an enormous amount of pointless busy work?
My boss was nice enough to ask me, when she was contemplating aloud the benefits of a “new filing system,”
“What’s your archival training tell you to do?”
I hesitated to answer her question, because I knew she wasn’t going to like the answer. I said, finally, timidly, “Um, my archival training says to keep originals with their duplicates, and just organize them neatly…there’s no need to create a second filing system for the same items.”
Yeah, anyway. I spent the night separating duplicates from originals, filing, re-filing, stuffing things into a box so that the original files would “look better,” even though if you wanted anything from that box you’d have to go look for it in the filing cabinet, read on the Post-It affixed to the original copy that the duplicates were now located in the box, find the box wherever the hell out of her way she decides to stash it that week, flip through the Post-Its for the author you want, find the story, then put the box back. All so everything will “look better.”
You can imagine how I feel about that.
What don’t people understand about proper filing? It’s beautiful, when done correctly, and will make your life easier. I seem to only encounter people who want to dick their lives up with the help of a messy, disconnected filing cabinet.
I’m just a little bit embarrassed to realize that I forgot to take down all of the yellow rectangular Post-Its of ideas and blurbs and sentences and words from the back of my bedroom closet door, and from all over the mirror behind my bathroom door. It’s a little embarrassing to realize that every stranger who checked out my apartment in the last week got a good, long look at the weird shit my mind burps out, which I consider worth recording on a Post-It note and sticking in one of the two places where I collect those weird ideas and stunted thoughts.
I remember catching a glimpse of the ones in the bathroom and thinking, Oh, I have to take those down, it would be embarrassing if strangers read them. Well, I forgot to take those down. I can only imagine what the girl who used my bathroom was thinking while she sat there on my toilet, reading them while she peed, like I do every day. I guarantee that the two of us were not on the same page.
Well. The Strangers did not seem to agree with my decor, anyway. One guy looked at the framed print of Van Gogh’s self portrait over my couch and said, “Is that Mozart or something?”
I said, “Oh, it’s uh, Van Gogh.”
He said, “Cool…”
I said, “Yeahhh, I think he’s…kinda weird.”
He said, “Naw, you’re not weird.”
I said, “No, I said…uh…”
When you live alone you become snow-blind to your own madness.
A good thing about tonight was that I left late, and the building was mostly empty and quiet, and I got a chance to go dumpster diving on the docks. I opened the recycle bins (because that’s where all the clean trash is) and, eureka: some asshole must have been getting rid of his entire office, or maybe got fired, because an entire bin was full of newish paper goods. I got a desk calendar for 2009 (it’s not too late, pal) that was still shrink wrapped! I got a 75% full box of resumé paper! I got folios, hanging folders, tabs, and Post-Its, all still wrapped or only sticking half-way out of their packaging. But the best, best part was a desk-sized pad of graph paper.
That’s when I got nervous.
I love graph paper and think it’s the best thing in the entire world…so I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would throw away a giant tearaway pad full of it. I figure someone probably died on or around these office supplies. And I can totally deal with that, all right?
So I dragged all my loot back through the deserted halls off the docks, and I passed the security camera, where I always do a little middle finger ninjutsu show, or exaggeratedly adjust my underwear, pretending to be oblivious to the camera, which I have been told is aimed at the dock door and is only checked if a crime is reported there.
I was told not to tell anyone that.
There was a minute today when I thought that all I had to do tomorrow was make some phone calls about apartments, wait for a package, and meet my new roomie for dinner tomorrow night. I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn’t have any plans that annoyed me. But then I remembered the Post-It on my table, where I have written exactly what the director wants (black and white photos of Chicago and New York highways circa 1970 and 1980 with gas station signs if possible). I have to go to the museum tomorrow and fight with the museum bitches to get them to help me find this shit.
Because when Herr Direktor says he wants it done, Frau Kuppcake does it.