Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Bruce Levine

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

It took Reggie an extended period to get all of his books organized just the way he wanted them. While his system was based very loosely on the Dewey Decimal System used in libraries, his subdivisions were significantly different, and each category was based on components of the category itself.

Most people would have thought that Reggie was more than a little excessive about his method, especially as he was the only one using the library, but Reggie felt that knowing exactly where a book, CD or DVD was located was important to him, so he pursued his organizational approach.

Actually, outlining all of the various sub-divisional aspects would definitely appear excessive, so Reggie rarely explained them to anyone.

To the outsider Reggie was considered a methodical person and, he hoped, that was enough.

His problem with methodology only became an issue for him when he happened to be working with someone who seemed, to Reggie, to have no method to their work. Of course, he had no knowledge or interest in knowing anything further than work, but he not only found it hard to understand how some of the people he knew actually got anything done in, what he considered, chaos.

He tried to ignore it in his co-workers, but almost always felt an irresistible urge to straighten up other people’s desks. He found that sometimes the best way to deal with a messy desk was to try to simply ignore it and that worked, at least, most of the time.

What, unfortunately, caused him the most problems were when the messy desk syndrome infiltrated every aspect of his co-worker’s persona. Somehow, he realized, they managed to function in their chaos, but sometimes he found that it affected more than he was able to deal with.

On one occasion the obviously opposite working approach created such a disparity that working together became, for Reggie, intolerable and he ended up resigning from a situation that he was enjoying. But, as he looked back, he felt that he had made the right choice. That, plus a vindication that he’d been correct, came from an unlikely source. So, in the end Reggie felt good about the choice he’d made.

That, it seemed, proved that, at least for him, being methodical was the right choice.

Two years had passed since the resignation and Reggie had pursued his methodical approach to life in a manner that suited him. He’d gone on through a number of situations and, happily, had good experiences.

Then came the situation that Reggie felt was too good to mess up. This one would allow him to set the organizational standards, to a point. The problem was getting past the group putting the project together. They should have been well organized. Their resumes indicated that they had accomplished larger goals than this project, but no matter how hard Reggie tried to keep everything on track, he felt like this was slipping through his fingers.

Oddly, it was Reggie’s organizational and methodical attributes that had made him appealing. Now, however, that seemed of little consequence.

Reggie devoted his time and energy to helping and then waited for the fruits of everyone’s labor to take effect. He waited and waited.

Time seemed to have little value, as Reggie saw it. His mind was set up to be organized in all aspects of functioning and if this project, no matter how much he wanted it, didn’t happen then so be it.

In the end he was right, and he was glad that he had not bothered waiting because the project never happened and, if it had, he realized, based on their over-all method, it probably would not have worked out anyway.

Reggie sat in his well-organized library putting the finishing touches on his preparations for his latest endeavor. For some reason his mind drifted back to the long-lost project and felt that, in the end, he was happy that he was the methodical person he was and that the moral of the story was to simply live his life and enjoy being who he was.

Maybe, he thought, one day he’d write a story about it and that would complete the full cycle.

He looked at his walls of methodically organized books and realized that, even with something as ephemeral as this, his brain automatically wanted to apply a sense of order.

As he went back to work, he realized that he was happy.

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