Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clutter, clots, clogs and chaos.


The other day I read about a workshop that explores sleep disorders and I toyed with going, not because I have a sleep disorder but because I am curious about what it is that causes some people to suffer sleeplessness hour after hour.

I decided against going.  For one thing I do not have the time to spare, nor do I know the orientation of those who would be taking such a workshop.  I fear too much emphasis on behaviour and the superficial.  Such an approach would drive me potty.  

Worst of although I fear attendance at such a workshop might put the mozz on me and suddenly if I allowed myself to think too long about it I, too, might begin to suffer from insomnia. 

Sleep is such a fragile thing.  It comes in waves.

We looked after our grandsons last night while their parents went out to dinner and drinks for one of our other daughters' birthdays, the first outing my daughter and her husband have been alone together since the youngest was born eleven months ago.  It comes into my mind now thinking about sleep.

Around 9.30 pm I pushed my nearly one year old grandson's pram up and down the corridor willing him off to sleep.  Up and down the corridor I pushed his pram but he was determined to stay awake.  Eventually he could not keep his eyes open and dropped off.   The pram’s movement was irresistible.

My mind does not want to work this morning.  I tell it to think about sleep but it is too cluttered with thoughts of the day ahead.  All the jobs I have to deal with, including a visit to my mother early, because we are having a dinner for the same daughter’s birthday – multiple celebrations for a birthday that fell last week while she was away.

 See how cryptic I can be, avoiding the use of personal names so as to avoid identifying those who might not want to be identified. 

My heads a clutter with ideas, and prohibitions.  The other day I heard about the three Cs of anxiety, ‘clutter, clots and clogs’.  You can read about it here.  They relate  to hoarding, but my interest is in its less pathological manifestations, as something I can get into not only literally – if you could see the junk room in my house you’d know what I mean – but metaphorically, in my head.

The idea is that a degree of clutter is part of the stuff of life. We need stuff to live and in a family of several folks, young and old, you will find lots of things, in use, put aside, open and available at the same time.  

The kitchen table is covered in condiments, open school books, unfinished sewing, shopping lists and more besides.  A lived-in house.  On the other hand, there are areas where the stuff gets piled and is not used regularly nor removed, though it could be if someone put their mind to it. 

An example of clutter that borders on chaos.  I'm the one in white.  

The stuff that stays for months on end becomes a clot.   And finally, there are the areas in the house that can spread one clot after another into a serious clog, serious to the point that activities must be curtailed because there is no room to move. 

You can’t even open your doors for the stuff.  You can’t use your table or bench top for the stuff.  In other words you can’t live. 

I once visited the house of the artist Mirka Mora and her place was like that, only her stuff was mostly art works, great gorgeous canvases and stuff she used as still life, dolls and taxidermic animals and post cards.  An amazing place and some how it did not offend me in the same way a really cluttered, clotted, clogged place might. 

When I was young and worked as a social worker I went from time to time to visit an elderly man who lived alone in Carnegie. The local doctor had referred him because he was concerned about this man’s life style.  The man refused to throw anything out.  The hall way was lined with newspapers in piles and empty tin cans.  There was not an open space in the entire house.  I could only interview him in his bedroom and I was reluctant to sit on the one chair available beside his bed because it too was piled with newspapers. 

He must be dead by now, and I wonder what happened to his stuff.  Did it wind up somewhere on a tip, the useful and the junk all blended together into one unusable mass?  
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