Every so often, I get the idea into my head that I’m going to be that guy. You know the one I mean. He has a workshop full of carefully labeled drawers, each containing precisely one size of fastener. He has file drawers full of papers he can put his hands on in an instant. There is a rack of lovely, patinated pots in his kitchen, all in order by size and all stored with the appropriate lids. He has a schedule. He gets up every morning and works on a blog, or, if he wrote it the day before, he edit and publishes it. His derailers are perfectly set up so that he never has to trim after a shift.
I’ll never be that guy.
And that’s OK. My workbench is covered with a mix of bicycle parts, tools, and clothing. I have file drawers, man y of which are empty, and the important stuff is either in piles on my desk or tucked in the bottom of my briefcase. There is a pile of pans in my kitchen, and the lids are elsewhere. I can go for weeks without updating my blog, and long ago decided that friction shifting was better than indexing because, well, it doesn’t take quite so much work. I do get up in the morning.
Whenever I say this, I have to relate something from a movie, a 1972 documentary about Jimi Hendrix. The interviewer is about to ask Jimi something like “Do you try to get up every morning and play the guitar?” But Jimi interrupts after the 8th word with a broad grin—“Yeah. I try to get up every morning.” I don’t know why I always insert that incident at this point, except that it seems to me to capture something important about life. I have no fraking idea what.
I’m that guy.
I read five or six books at a time—depending on which one I happen to run into. When I do watch TV (rarely), I sometimes watch series back-to-front.
I always wanted an organized house, but my spouse and I are far too much alike. We both idolize Ikea and Crate & Barrel; we both love office supply stores. We like to plan things out. But neither of us has the energy, at the end of a long day, to implement those plans. What we do do, we split up; she’s working on a big project now, and cooking relaxes her, so she cooks and I (learning from one thing at Lifehacker) do all the dishes. I do try to make the time each morning (being a morning person) to get up, read the comics, deal with email & c., and have a brief bike ride before work.
And if that’s as far as I get, that’s OK. When I’m dead and gone and decaying, nobody is going to remember how anal I was (or at least, I hope not). They’ll remember me in terms of them. What was the interaction like?
I mention this last part because of an interaction I recently had with a friend. I had posted to a cycling board that I was interested in buying a “standard” triple crankset.
For the uninitiated, a crankset is what you turn with the pedals on a bike. It can have two or three gears on it, known as chain rings. Typically, there are “racing” or “standard” cranksets and “compact” or “touring” cranksets. The former have sets of gears like 53/39 or 52/42/30. These pull a comparatively large amount of chain, which in turn makes the rear wheel go around faster in any given gear. The latter are generally 46/36/24, and pull a lot less chain for any given gear. The difference isn’t huge, but noticeable. In getting a standard triple, I wanted to get a lower gear (the 30) without giving up what are essentially racing gears (5x and 4x). There now, that wasn’t confusing at all, was it?
An hour or so after I posted my request, I got a private message from my friend (who, by the way, I have known since ‘95 or so an met precisely once) to tell me that he had a triple, essentially new, that he would send me. For how much? I asked. Just send me your current address, he said.
That is how people are remembered. I don’t know whether my friend has a clean or a messy workshop. For all I know, the crankset spent the last couple of years wrapped in clean underwear on a closet shelf. Or was preserved in vacuum-sealed clear plastic box.
I don’t know if he’s that guy. And I don’t care.
So, don’t get too stressed if you, like me, are addicted to the time- and labor-saving and organizing hints on websites like lifehacker.com or MyOCD. As long as it isn’t causing problems for others, love your messy life.
Think of it as energy conservation.