Thursday, July 9, 2009
The Power of Suggestion
It's finished. Every box has been unpacked, sorted, repacked, stored, or banished to the garage. The desk is clean again. (We've cleaned it maybe six times this week. It attracts mess like an industry-strength magnet.) The floor is pristine, even vacuumed.
And I'm clearly psychic. At the beginning of the week, I looked upon the office and made suggestions for the future. I suggested that since my aunt and uncle are both in scouts, besides homeschooling, they needed a shelf for non-book things. Like buckets of supplies or to hold bags or other scouting things. I suggested that all the books could be gathered into one side of the room so you wouldn't have to skip from one side of the room to the other looking for a particular book. All the bookshelves lined up together. I suggested that the Evil White Shelf was evil and deserved complete and total exile to the garage. I suggested that a tall cabinet/bookshelf really wasn't serving its purpose efficiently (the doors won't shut and since it was right in front of the closet that was more than slightly inconvenient) it could be repurposed to begin a new life as a garage-located pantry. I suggested that a smaller, more benign cousin of the Evil White Shelf could be rescued from the depths of the garage, cleaned off, and used to hold not-quite-scrapbooking-supplies. I suggested that the closet could become a craft/file storage closet instead of an inaccessible hole. I also suggested that the blankets currently taking up ten percent of the space in the closet could be relocated to the hall coat closet.
My aunt is not an entirely suggestible person. This is not completely surprising since I get my tendency to passive resistance from her side of the family. (The Teacher has said, more than once, that I'm a master of passive resistance. I'm sure, remembering context and tone, that she didn't mean it as praise.) Some of my suggestions were immediately embraced. (Like the blankets and a few others.) Others.... not so much.
So it is with a sense of half awe, half smug surprise, that I look around at the end of five days and realize that every suggestion I made (I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but anyway, all the ones that I actually meant) was, eventually, acted upon. The books are consolidated. The named furniture has departed. The Evil White Shelf is gone, gone, gone. The closet looks halfway friendly to the approaching supplicant. The non-book-shelf holds its unliterary burden with pride. The Evil White Shelf's cousin serves well and unobtrusively, which is the way furniture should be.
And now it's over, and tomorrow I go home to kittens and schoolwork and my own room which is a hypocritical mess. (On the other hand, it's only hypocritical if I pretended it was clean and happy and the way I wanted it to be.) But when I think about those suggestions that became prophecy, I am reminded of things I already knew.
Sometimes all you need is someone else to say what you're too afraid to think for yourself. Every time I wanted to get rid of a piece of major furniture, my aunt freaked out and went into stuff withdrawel. "I can't, can't, can't!" But in the end, (and many boxes later), it turned out she could.
The other thing is that I have a really awesome aunt. It takes courage to admit that you need help beating your stuff into submission. It takes something more than patience to let that help be your seventeen-year-old niece. Who may not be the most tactful or respectful of persons. ('Respect your elders' always seemed like a nice saying... for the elders. I don't believe in one way streets. If you want my respect... earn it. Inevitably, I don't seem to get along with some unnamed people very well.)
The moral of this long post is that sometimes all we need to change our life is a suggestion.