Wednesday, October 31, 2007

COLUMN: Organization

The problem with being a published columnist is that sometimes, when you least expect it, it goes to your head. No, I don't mean that I walk with pride or that I get a big head about things (my head, incidentally, is big enough on its own. When I was in marching band, they had to custom make my XXXL hat. I'm neanderthal-skulled, apparantly.)

But because some of you people graciously take time out of your week to read my silly column, occasionally I get the notion that I am capable of having intelligent ideas and making smart decisions on my own. This, clearly, is not the case -- and recent events have proven it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here's the scenario. You guys know that I'm a bit of a music nerd, right? I live in constant fear for the well-being of the spritely old man who lives in the apartment below mine, because I'm pretty sure that I'm about one Jay-Z album away from my floor collapsing under the weight of my record collection alone. When people ask me if I'm planning for the future, I'm not lying when I tell them that all my money's invested in CD's.

Anyways, a couple years back, I stumbled onto a free treasure trove of vinyl records. It's a long story, but basically they were leftovers from an estate sale that were en route to a dumpster when I intervened. They didn't know what they were in the process of throwing out, as the collection held some of the greatest and most priceless dance and club tracks of the past thirty years. For a part time DJ like me, it was akin to winning the lottery. The problem is, winning the actual lottery would've been a lot easier.

See, we're talking about roughly 4000 records. Add that to my EXISTING collection and stick it all in my tiny one-bedroom apartment, and you start to see the trouble. I now have records in every nook, cranny, and crawlspace that my humble abode offers.

Here's where my two-pronged stupid idea comes into play. Idea #1: "You should really catalog these records, Shane, so you know what you've got." On the surface? Smart idea. Insurance needs a record of these records, and I need to be able to pull out a list the size of an encyclopedia in order to validate my pathetic life by shocking and awe-ing mere mortals who tragically exist without any all-consuming materialistic hobbies.

The reality, as it turns out, is that it's not so much fun to catalog 4000 records. Ergo I slacked on the project until about 8 months ago, when I was struck with Idea #2: "Pull out all the albums, put em in the middle of the bedroom, and you'll get so irritated you'll get it over and done with."

This is why I've slept on the couch for the past 8 months. My bedroom has turned into a wasteland for record albums and a giant scratching post for my cats. I needed to reclaim the bedroom, so I turned my final vacation of 2007 into a week-long effort to clean and organize my living space. Willpower vs. epic laziness: What would prevail?

SUNDAY - Got vacation off to a good start by going to Target and buying a new lamp and DVD player for the bedroom. My productivity level swells. Great things are afoot. I am a lean, mean work machine. I celebrate by giving myself Monday off.

TUESDAY - All prepped for a day of work, I stick in a Friends DVD and fire up the catalog program on my laptop. By night's end, I have cataloged 30 albums and watched 24 episodes of Friends. This is not the ratio to success.

WEDNESDAY - I catalog a couple hundred albums by noon and note that Drew Carey is a pretty crummy "Price is Right" host. I start to discover that under the piles of albums are piles of debris and dirty clothing from decades yore. As these are much less fun to organize than records, I give up and go club-hopping with friends of the lower-case F variety.

THURSDAY - As the bedroom gets tidier, the rest of my apartment goes south. Rather than tidying, I begin to realize I'm simply displacing junk from one room to another. I give up and go club-hopping by myself.

FRIDAY - My last proper day of vacation is spent with more upper-case Friends and cataloging the last album. Progress has been made, but it now looks like my apartment has been ransacked by the authorities.

SATURDAY - I pick up piles of clothes, wash them, realize I'm out of hangers, and throw them right back on the floor.

SUNDAY - I am the living heir to the throne of Pathos. I decide to kick back and wait for the health inspector to arrest me. Then I channel-flip into bad romance movie, "The Holiday." Sudden enlightenment. If Cameron Diaz and Jack Black and their astonishly bad acting skills can both find love and happiness in two hours, there's still hope for me. I buy hangers! I do laundry! I make a milkshake! (Hey, it sounded good.)

As I type, my apartment looks once again human. I can reach my bed. I can sleep in my bed. Life is good. Except my DVD's. Those should really be cataloged. I bet if I pull them all down...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice column, I can relate in a way. I have thousands of CDs and they continue to accumulate. One time I got the hair brained idea to organize them by release date. I got halfway through and abandoned the idea after my wife said it would be inpossible for her to find anything since she's not a music geek like myself. I saw her point and put them back in alphabetical order. It was a waste of time, but oddly enjoyable.
- Dustin in Peoria