Thursday, 13 January 2011

Tidying up…

I thought that I’d better get on with it. No use in putting it off any longer. Today I started clearing out my office. Well, when I say started I almost managed to complete it. Herculean tasks are often not as big in reality as in the mind.

The drawers were easy, the top two at least. The top two are so shallow you can’t get much more than a stapler and a few pens in them so they were relatively tidy. I found a few surprises – a photograph of me from twenty years ago, a card from the mother of a chap that worked for me once thanking me for being a good boss to him, a lucky monkey charm I won in a Long Island bar. Things I’d almost forgotten, almost but not quite.

The bottom drawer proved to be more of a challenge. It’s deep and spacious and over the years has become a sort of post box for all that correspondence I needed to keep for a while, but not forever. Of course a while became a longer while, and then an even longer while, until I began to think that my drawer might really keep my correspondence forever.

Forever? Silly me.

It took me hours to sort through it. I even unblocked my shredder (the one that jammed ten months ago, blocked with documents of high sensitivity) so that I could cover my tracks and keep my secrets a little safer. It felt like I was shredding my past, feeding myself into the machine and watching it all go as if it had never happened.

Maybe I was.

The cupboard was easy. Behind its clever sliding door it was mainly full of precious things that I wanted to keep and stored there for safe keeping. Important stuff – my rubber duck collection, my set of Arthur Mee encyclopaedias, my easy button (that was easy), my help button (alert, alert, helpless incompetent asshole in the vicinity), my bullshit button (bullshit detected, take precautions). Stuff collected along the meander of the last thirty years or so, a meaningless certificate, some photographs, a dozen assorted phone chargers, my plug adaptors (US, India, Europe), my doodle pads.

I wondered where that hair brush had got to.

I filled four big black bin bags with rubbish, paper mainly, documentation of things I’d worked on - personality and management style assessments, old notebooks, diary pages, papers on this, papers on that. A lifetime’s important activity, all not so very important now – shredded and awaiting recycle at the local centre.

All that’s left for me to do is pick up my boxes and bags, tidy down my desk, and unbalance my balance stones. I’m giving them away if anybody wants one, well some of them, some I really have to keep – the ones that hold my soul.

It’s only an office and I’m not quite gone yet. It’s still mine for a week or two, some time left to enjoy it - but I’m ready.

At least -- as ready as I’ll ever be.


  1. Aww Dad!
    Show me the picture of you from 20 years ago when you get home? See if I can recognise you :P X

  2. Sad to be at an end, even sadder that you're doing it alone.

  3. Is Gary (Eric Cartman) still making snide comments? I really like the arrangement of elements in the image.

  4. Neil Fishwick commented on Facebook:

    It sort of cleanses, but doesn't really prepare you.

  5. Tricia Kitt commented on Facebook:

    well done you - I remember doing this nearly 3 years back now; it's bloody hard!
    shall I bring some bubbly in whilst it's still yours and spray it around?
    love the balance stones by the way - they're relatively new!

  6. Barbara Balding commented on Facebook:

    so sad Andi! be brave! hope you are coming to Scarborough before you leave! If you carn't find a home for the balance stones, I'll make a good home for them here at Scarborough!

  7. Sorry you had to do it on your own. At least when I did it there were still people around me so it didn't seem so final. I'll come & see you before you finish. Can I have one of your balancing stones?

  8. To quote Kris Kristofferson - 'Dont Let The bastards Get You Down'.
    They will never be the man you are.
    If theres a stone left over.....

  9. Stones are going quick. Maybe I'll start a business.

  10. Hi AKH - I'd love some stones please for my windowsill at work - it will remind me of you and so many other great people I have said goodbye to in recent times.