Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Junk Drawer

So yes. My new phone  has ingested several thousand of my sister's old contacts and a dainty portion of my own, and I am straightening out the mess by hand. It's coming along well; I'm nearly done with the back forty and should be finishing up 'long about month's end when the stagecoach comes through.

I am making a point to delete all the contacts I don't recognize. Then I add in the ones that aren't in there that should be in there.

I know what you're thinking. There's no point in deleting, Boomer. It doesn't matter how many people you have in your contact list. You don't have to memorize them anymore. The idea that you need to slim down your contact list is a sign that you're an old person.

But I feel compelled to a degree of tidiness here that is reflected nowhere else in my life. Give me this.

Because this thing feels like a junk drawer, full of orphaned knobs, mystery keys, old twist-ties. Just shut the drawer, I'm told, but the sight offends my senses. I just know one of those unknown contacts is the potato masher that will turn sideways and I'll never be able to open that drawer again.

Here's another sign I'm old: I have already deleted quite a number of people that God deleted first. Without a twinge, mind you: I don't litter the roadside with teddy bears and I don't need dead people in my contact list unless the smart phones get way smarter.

Once I've deleted my mystery contacts on the new phone, I go to the old phone to add in people I really do know. Yes, those contacts are supposed to be on the new phone, because I shlorped them over with a handy shlorping app, but they're not. I'm not troubling myself with "why" anymore. As it is, I feel lucky I didn't pick up the contact list of the dude walking down the alley when he stopped to drain his Weimaraner.

Lots of people have trouble throwing things away. They think they might need that metal clip some day, or that doorknob, or that hand-scrawled note that no longer makes sense. But I'm surrounded by perfectly useful items like mops and scrub brushes that apparently I've never found a use for. So hitting "delete" is easy for me.

After all, my own brain has decided all on its own what I don't need to know anymore. I'll be searching for a name, or a word, or the reason I walked into a room, and my brain says "Shh, there, there, you don't need to know that," and I've finally come to accept it. It's been a two-step process for my brain: first, go to the Data Department and poke a bunch of holes in it; second, pop over to the department that is supposed to monitor all the loss of inventory in the Data Department, and sing to it until it quits investigating. There was about a five-year lag between step one and step two but now I'm feeling better about it all. I'm pretty sure the third step will involve wearing a medical alert bracelet.

In the meantime, this doesn't hurt my writing at all. You have to get really creative with your metaphors when you can't come up with the word you wanted in the first place.

31 comments:

  1. I sometimes have trouble coming up with the word I want. Usually, I'll first give my online thesaurus a try, by typing in a word with roughly the same meaning. If that doesn't work, I type in the definition of the word and Google it. Google usually knows the word I mean. If Google tells me that he doesn't know WTF I'm talking about, then I just try to write something to convey the right meaning, all the while mentally kicking myself because I just know it would sound better with the word I wanted.

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    1. The other day I was trying to come up with someone's name and I didn't know much about him except that he lived sometime in the first nine centuries and his name started with V. Try Googling that. (It popped into my head later, all on its own: The Venerable Bede.)

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  2. Okay I laughed out loud at that picture of you holding a potato masher, only because I have a "kitchen utensil junk drawer" with the same folding masher waiting year after year to be used, but I know the minute I get rid of it I'm going to have a need to mash something. And now I feel like a damn fool as I'm looking at it literally and not as a metaphor! Anyway, had to laugh at your Boomer label for needing to know everyone in your contact list I feel just the same way. I must have 3 dozen contacts in my Microsoft Outlook folder that I have no memory of placing there! They are going, TODAY!

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    1. I sometimes enter contacts that I NEVER want to talk to, just so that their name will pop up on the screen instead of their phone number (which, of course I've never memorized.) Eventually they seem to get the idea that I'm too difficult to get hold of and they go away.

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    2. Three dozen? I have thousands. Hundreds, anyway. I'm still only up to S.

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    3. I have 37 and some of those are taxi, chemist and police numbers.

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    4. Those lattice mashers are great for potatoes, and for smushing down peanut butter cookie balls with a distinctive pattern. My kids declared only genuine mom-made cookies had that pattern.

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    5. OSPIRG is in my contact list so that I don't answer their call. OPB didn't make it into the list, so I'm thinking there is a tipping point for just how hard you have to work at being there.

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  3. My kitchen junk drawer doesn't have anything related to the kitchen inside. I know there are some batteries, a hammer, a pliers, and the other stuff is just filler. My phone is like that, too. I don't know about most of what is in it.
    Also like the phrase, "he stopped to drain his Weimaraner." That is classic.

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  4. This cracked me UP!!! Here's to "the ones God deleted first." Miss you all.

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    1. I'd been thinking God was extra busy lately until I realized I'm just extra old.

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  5. I am in the shut the drawer category. In the kitchen and on my phone. And have a nasty tendency to add things (on the phone at least) which it turns out are already there. And yes, draining the weimaraner could certainly take enough time for contacts to be exchanged (if the wind and the mood were right).

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    1. Some of them Weimaraners take a while to drain.

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  6. I saw the title and was reminded of a few months back when we decided to give Grace the big buffet. We went through the top drawer (the junk drawer) and threw away most of it. Then we heard from Devery that all she wanted to inherit was the contents of that junk drawer. The usual good timing around here.... I believe there were packets of marching band sheet music and the little holders that fit on your horns etc... Why doesn't she want all my old work clothes?

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  7. I have, for decades, kept papery stuff in what I pencil in on the file folder as "current misc.", and if I'm in a particular mood, I add a general date along with the "current misc." title. I have recently taken to going through said files with the intention of lightening the load. As a paper fetishist (and proud of it ) I save a lot of unnecessary crap, especially if it's pretty or artsy. I was Pinterest before Pinterest was a thing. I am proud of myself for disposing of about 70 or 80 pounds of paper 'ephemera'. Now on to the second drawer in the file...

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    1. Oh lord. Got a lot of drawers shut around here. And it wouldn't even take that much to go through them--"one salamander at a time."

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    2. I waste a lot of time between 'salamanders'.

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  8. The Son borrowed my Phone when his went on the fritz and asked me if he could transfer over all his contacts until he got a new Phone of his own. Sure says I, now 98% of my Contacts List are his Friends and most aren't even people I might know. But, if ever I can't contact him, now I got a shit ton of numbers I can call to ask them to have him call me, so there's that!

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    1. You're braver than I am. Letting someone use your phone seems a little like letting someone use your underwear. *Shudders* I'm not a phone person, but I don't like even letting Paul use the phone, as he is clumsy, multi-tasks, and I always fear he may drop it in the fish pond while he is simultaneously talking on the phone and cleaning the filter in fountain.

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    2. I guarantee at this point I would never let someone put his contacts in my phone. My phone is delicate. My previous phone was anorexic, so it's a little better, but still.

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  9. If only I knew more metaphors, perhaps I could write more. ho hum. I'll read a book instead. I have several junk drawers, filled with two or three of most items, because my ex would pop up out of nowhere with surprise purchases for me and when I'd say I already had one he'd say "but this one is better." So I have multiple tools and billions of screws and other whatnots that I will never need but can't throw away because they are new. I'm hoping one day one of the kids will ask if I have one of those things that does such and such and I can say "yes, I have two I'll give you one!"

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    1. I'm always offering random things to people who drop by. "Make this go away."

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  10. The immortal Terry Pratchett introduced us to Anoia, the Goddess of Things That Get Stuck in Drawers.

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  11. Next could you address "saved recipes"?

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    1. Oh goodness. And just last week I thought I was saving a particular chicken recipe and I actually saved "35 Great Summer Chicken Recipes," and I don't know how to boot them out.

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  12. We had a "Rumpleschublatt" i.e. junk drawer in german slang when I was a kid. And I still do. Only I am usually stymied by the shoe laces-too-good-to-throw-away- bundle that jumps up and jams up the works.

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