Didn’t some idiot say fifty years ago that we would work in completely paperless offices by 2000? Wrong! We have more paper than we ever had, largely because it is so simple to send any document to a printer to have a hard copy to send with the email of whatever documents are required—and, of course, a second copy for our own files, and a third copy for the client to keep in his files.
I have been using my big dining room table as the staging area for all the paperwork entailed in settling George’s estate, in doing the taxes, in paying the bills—etc., et., etc., ad infinitum. When I worked for the university full time, I had a secretary who tried desperately and against great odds to keep me organized and the filing up to date. We still lost things.
I have come to the conclusion that George’s filing system is the way to go. Whenever someone would send him a request for a new report, he would file it away in his bottom drawer. If they never asked for it again (usually they didn’t), then it would molder away to dust. If someone said after six months, “Oh, did you ever get around to filling out that report I sent you?” George would reply with an innocent expression, “What report?” In most cases, the requester had forgotten what report, why he needed it in the first place, and when he actually needed the information (usually never).
The only file clerk I want is like the detective in Unforgettable who remembers absolutely everything from her birth to the present and never forgets where she put anything. I, on the other hand, try to file papers somewhere I cannot possibly forget them, because I use logic. Never works.
At this point, I have delivered the tax stuff to my accountant and am waiting for him to put a curse on me. I told him my files were one step up from a shoebox, but he wasn’t concerned. Last year a lady came into his office with three laundry baskets full of receipts and forms, and told him she hadn’t filed her taxes for three years.
In finding the stuff I took him, I rummaged around in four big file boxes of amorphous stuff. Now, I have to clean it up and organize it the way I should have in the first place.
And it’s not only paperwork. My critique partner found one of my unsold manuscripts when she cleaned up her office. It’s pretty good, certainly worth taking another look at. Except that I can’t find my computer file anywhere. I’m also missing a short story that I need to send to somebody.
I guess what I need is Hercule Poirot’s Miss Lemon.
George always had a straw boss. When he finished using a tool, he laid it down, and some minion came along behind him and put it away. At the office or in the plant. At home, not so much. I finally bought my own Skil saw and socket set and HID them. For some reason I can keep up with tools. Now, if I could handle papers…