I had to laugh a bit after making my way through the creative writing of David Weinberger in “Everything is Miscellaneous”, as it made me think of something a bit random… you might call it a miscellaneous musing….
This cleaverly positioned article points out that with the digital age there is simply no need to be restricted by the rigid confines of categorization and order that we as a society have worked so hard to create. We don’t have to worry about clogging up or stacking up card catalogs to help us know what we said the order of things should be, nor do we need to worry about changing our mind, expanding our mind to new possibilities, or any other permutation of thought that would make us stick to our guns when attempting to put the disarray of life that surrounds us BACK INTO order. It is this thought that made me think of my husband; he has a mild case of OCD – but don’t worry, this is a happy story.
While there are days when OCD can be a bit of a challenge in a marriage – there are probably more than a few days that it has become a strange blessing. Case in point, when I wash and fold towels, you could say I use more of a “miscellaneous” approach, no need to worry about green towels or beige towels, hand towels or washcloths – they are just TOWELS – they go in to one pile to be washed- come out – go into the dryer, – come out are & are folded randomly, stacked a in a fashion a bit less than random if I am honest (size), but are put away based on what will fit in the cupboard (a bit random – I shamefully admit). Little did I know that my miscellany way of doing the towel laundry was driving my husband bonkers. Of course when he mentioned the situation, I offered to give him the privilege of doing it in a way that suited his OCD style; you might say more of a RIGID “first order & second order” fashion – Towels yes, but washed by size, color, and type (kitchen vs. bath), etc. (no kidding).
I completely related to the comments made by Weinberger when he discussed the expensive nature associated with maintaining the second order way of doing things, as the first month my husband took over the laundry our water and electric bill both went up by almost $15 each! All those little loads of laundry made sense to him, but made for a lot of inefficiency, not to mention not being very environmentally friendly. On the other hand, the cupboards were every “orderly”, not to mention the fact I didn’t have to do the towel laundry!
I love the world of bits vs. atoms; it allows for us to be more flexible in the way we see the world of information around us – not confined by norms or false needs/constraints. The sky is the limit in how we can set things up. TAGS & Metadata are AWESOME!
I also would say that if you ask me, not only does information want to be free and miscellaneous, so does my laundry… but for now, I am just loving someone else doing it… even if it means bowing to the OCD god who requires me to live in a 1st and 2nd world.