Usually my (Arlene’s) office is a pretty accurate barometer of my work life. The more things going on, the more disastrous–and I mean that word very literally–my office looks. But today was cleaning day. Not because I had anything less going on. In fact, technically this was supposed to be the last week of my vacation but I ended up working a few hours on Monday and a full day on Tuesday because I have work looming. (Note to potential future hires: while I’m bad about taking vacation myself, I’m rather insistent that others in the department take their full complement and that they leave work behind when they do so. So my inability to do this myself shouldn’t panic you.)
But Wednesday? Yes, I still had the same projects underway and the deadlines weren’t changing. So why clean? An organized desk–at least in Arlene’s world–isn’t so much the sign of an organized mind as a sign of a motivation beyond all the due dates. And today it was a new computer. Wide-screen monitor, seriously powered hard drive, just waiting to be installed. But I can’t make our pc guy, Brad Generous, shift my piles of paperwork to take out the old equipment and install the new. Much less climb under my desk when there’s no room under there, either. And if you want to know how long I’d delayed this, I was the last of 2 people in the library to have her new system installed. Me. The one who usually volunteers myself and my department to be a beta tester for any new software upgrade or equipment months ahead of general installation around the rest of the library and sometimes even university. And I’m putting off the installation of a new system–a system that could help me meet the digitization project deadline because it has the guts to speed up handling of the very large digital image files I’m working with–because my office looks like the result of a very localized high-magnitude earthquake.
Well, it’s mostly clean now. The desk surface has been exhumed. There’s still a lot of boxes around the place and a few stacks of documents, but it looks relatively organized. And it was getting more than a little embarrassing judging by the responses of my colleagues who have walked in since. MC stopped abruptly in the doorway and said “Whoa.” Nicole said “Look at that.” Brad said “Wow” when he pulled up with the equipment cart. Kevin said “Hmm” (but it was a very meaningful “hmm”) and Greg didn’t say anything but he really didn’t need to: it was all in his eyes. Okay, I get it. I won’t let it get that bad again, I promise. But still y’all might want to take a photo: the longevity of a digital images is eons beyond that of an organized office belonging to Arlene.
And even better, it will stay relatively clean for at least 4 days. Because we’re closed July 2-3 in observance of the July 4th holiday and I have no plans to come in until after the holiday weekend is over so I can’t mess it up. Besides, now that I have a decent internet connection at home, I can get some of my work done from there. (Yes, MC, I won’t work the whole weekend. Just a little of it. I promise. But you? You’d better take all four days off.)