Piles of paper abound everywhere in my life – at home on the kitchen table, on the desk, here at work on my desk. I can’t help it. I collect papers and I can’t seem to get rid of the piles no matter how hard I try. Oh I can get the piles down – throw away the junk mail I thought I needed but didn’t, but I can never get rid of the piles of paper.
But it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be when I collected mail. It was almost an unconscious thing. I’d have my ritual of opening the mailbox and checking to see what was in it and even bring the mail into the townhouse I lived at with my three teenagers and my young daughter at the time. If the piece of mail looked even just a little bit menacing, like a bill or some notice, I’d throw the mail unopened on to the coffee table. I’d mentally tell my stuff, okay, I’ll deal with this mail later. It’s been a long, hard day at work and I just picked up my daughter from daycare and besides, the townhouse is a mess and I have to figure out what we’re going to eat for dinner. The teenagers are all stuffed into a bedroom upstairs doing heaven knows what, and now I get this menacing looking mail?
Oh this mail is from the City of Palo Alto. I wonder – oh no, don’t look at it, throw it into the already growing pile of unopened mail. Oh this is definitely a bill, there it goes into the pile. It got to the point where the pile was getting so big, it would topple over and some of the unopened mail would spill out on to the floor. Then my older daughter Melissa, dressed all in black in her Gothic garb, would roll her eyes at me and say stuff like, “What are you going to do with all this mail? You’re not even going to open it! What’s wrong with you?”
“I’ll go through it one of these days,” I’d say, “When I have time.”
Then Melissa wearing that dark makeup surrounding her beautiful gray blue eyes, looking stern and motherly like would say, “Yeah, right! Whatever!” Then she’d walk away, her long black flowing skirt swishing as she walked revealing black Doc Martin boots.
The boys never even noticed the mail sitting there and neither did little Megan who was way more interested in rollerblading or playing her imaginary games or watching Sponge Bob Square Pants on Nickelodeon than a bunch of mail piling up on the coffee table.
The boys were more interested in playing the latest video games and hanging out with their friends and doing who knows what – smoke pot, whatever it is the boys did in the bedroom.
Only Melissa noticed – she noticed everything about me. She noticed when there wasn’t food in the house and blamed me for not buying enough food even though it was the teenage boys who ate all the food up and it was almost impossible to keep up with it all.
“You’re hopeless!” she would say rolling her eyes. “Aren’t you even a little worried there might be something important in the mail?”
“Well, if you think it’s so important why don’t you open the mail?” I’d retort back.
“Are you kidding? You really are kidding…oh man, you seriously need help!”