I spent a good five minutes this morning staring at my crowded messy desk.I could tell that the look on my face was one of a no nonsense plan of action.Where should I start to clean? How can I finally win the battle and maintain a clean desk area?No plan of action seemed to be materializing so I kept staring and as I often do (with many unsolvable inner battles I struggle with) I shrugged my shoulders, made a cup of tea and turned my TV on in order to loose myself in the aimless activity of channel surfing.
While aimlessly channel surfing, I came to a realization.It was not one of those eureka moments by any means but more of a self-satisfying, self-encouragement that my desk is fine the way it is.After all, Martha Stewart will not be stopping by any time soon and no one in my immediate family would ever raise one eyebrow in disappointed upon viewing a messy desk.Its not that they would even be hiding their ‘shutter of disappointment’ inside. They simply cannot process the significance of a tidy desk, or for that matter, a messy desk.
Good, I thought, that’s right, my desk shall remain as is and I shall be proud of my mess.After all this is my mess.I created this.A stash of magazines that for some reason or another seem important for me to hold on too.Pictures I have not sorted through.A pile of pens that don’t work anymore but at some time or another were my trusty every day pens.Even old graduate school pamphlets listing the semester classes which one would think I would gladly throw away.Sigh, it is my mess, my tea tastes good and TV is marvelous.
It occurred to me that I have my family to thank for my ability to love my messy desk, at least for one more day.I grew up in a house with a “den.”Not many friends’ houses had these dens.A place where everything was.School books, TV, magazines, board games, my little ponies, troll dolls, and plenty of other random items and trinkets.Also more books than we were able to read.This was not the ‘kids’ playroom’ mind you.My parents hung out in there as well and it was the room we all instinctively settled in when we came home from wherever on earth we were that day.The den was a lovely, messy place.At first we were not allowed to bring food in there but slowly we all broke the rules and at some point eating in the den became common place.Even my dad eats in there and sometimes I think he even forgets to look down at the carpet for crumbs when he finishes, although he may deny this.A few times a week the den would appear tidy thanks to a lovely cleaning lady named Sarah and the countless others that came after her (although for a while, we all referred to them as ‘Sarah’).But in the end, I think the den preferred to be on the messy side.It was more comfortable that way.A room that said, ‘hey, come in here, kick your shoes off, not because you have too, because it’s more comfortable that way.’Maybe my messy desk is my personal den.A place where old pens are welcome and magazines can live a few days longer than they should.
My mother has a desk also.Her desk would destroy my desk if there were such things as messy desk battles.My mother’s desk spans the breadth of three or four desks actually and every space is important.The best part about this mega-tron desk is that it is located in the den.And true to form, occasionally the desk is clean and tidy because my mother will decide to clean it up.It becomes noticeably tidy, like when a ‘wow check out your clean desk” comment is in order.But I secretly think that maybe my mother prefers it to be messy.I think she finds order in her mess. She can tell you where to find anything if you are looking for it in the general vicinity of the desk.This is her desk, her work, her mess and it makes me feel relaxed and cozy when I walk into the den.
I would imagine that other dens in the universe would morph into a different entity after all the children had flown the coup but not our den.It is still the first room I go to when I visit home.I even go in there before going into my bedroom.Even if no one is in there, I just kind of have to check it out.Maybe to make sure that it is still there in all its charming glory.Thankfully, it remains the hub of the house…even for our cats.