The New York Times article, “This Trend Is A Mess” puts it, this way: “Clutter is having a moment.”
Now, I don’t want to get too excited, but if I am reading the piece correctly, this means that Becky and I are at least somewhat trendy. Finally.
True, we don’t do social media except for email and the occasional message on our phones, er, our devices. We don’t Facebook; we don’t Tweet; we don’t Snapchat; we don’t WhatsApp. And we certainly are not “influencers” on TikTok. Not even sure how we could go about transforming ourselves into such people even if we wanted to — which we don’t.
But if we did care to join that world we would fit right in with this current TikTok trend. It seems some are attempting to “embrace messiness,” to document online their less-than-perfect homes. Well, we would fit right in. In our story, we would be actively “flexing” our clutter as we led our followers room to room to view and experience the confused piles and off-kilter stacks that occupy our disordered home. Our viewers would relate to us, see that we are just regular, disorganized people just like them.
It makes me feel vindicated, somehow, that the world has finally caught up with our “whatever” lifestyle, our “oh, well” attitude as we survey the lived-in nature of our jumbled, humble abode. I think we might even be considered experts in controlled chaos. Speaking for myself, I have been at this for nearly all of my life.
Oh, through the years, I will occasionally make a show of getting my stuff together: I will know what is what and where it is; I will attempt to put like with like and this with that. But, the order never lasts, of course. Nothing does. Over time, everything falls into disorder.
I remember learning long ago about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, about entropy, about systems becoming disordered as time increases. I might have learned it in a classroom or maybe I read it. (I’m sure I have the book around here somewhere.) but understanding this concept was a revelation to me. “Well, if it is going to fall apart anyway,” I thought, “I shouldn’t be too concerned when it does.” This explanation justified to me the tendency for things to fall apart all around me. It also justified my tendency to procrastinate because, well, “Why bother?”
Clearly, Science sometimes can lead one down mistaken paths, and that extreme, youthful attitude didn’t last long. I eventually realized that not bothering to add energy to the universe also leads to problems. But I must admit a part of it is still lurking around somewhere in my lazy brain. That’s why I continue to create stacks of stuff.
Just yesterday, I pulled from under a chair a pile of magazines, clipped newspaper articles, comic strips and a couple of un-worked crossword puzzles and put them all in a box. I stacked an article about youngsters living on the remote Lofoten Islands of Norway who earn money cutting the tongues from cod (a local delicacy), on top of a newspaper clipping telling of the Zen community in Anchorage, Alaska which I then placed on a partially finished Sudoku. This box might join other boxes I have filled with fascinating things to read or look at or puzzle out. Or I may actually read and deal with them once and for all. Either way.
Truth be told, it would probably make a good TikTok story. If we were on TikTok, that is. Which we are not.
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]