I have always been somewhat of an organised chap but I find of late that I am taking it far more seriously than is my norm. In my hotel room everything is laid out and neat. My clothes are nicely folded; my pens are lined up in regimented lines; I carefully hang my towel and bathrobe; I put away my reading glasses in their case. All is in order.
In the hotel restaurant I make a point of eating with the cutlery in a polite manner. My napkin is placed neatly on my lap; I make sure my mouth is clean when I sip from my glass so as to not leave a distinguishing mark; I sit up ramrod straight; when I have finished my meal I align my knife and fork in the proper way so the waitress will know that she can remove the offending items.
All is in order.
I caught myself doing this yesterday but I had no need to ponder on the significance. When you find yourself in complete chaos then the only available recourse is to put as many things as you can in some semblance of rigid order. The chaos must be counter-balanced. This is how you survive such ordeals. I have seen true homeless people, living under a bridge in dire circumstances, and they have the same order to what meagre possessions they own if only for a brief time.
Having order in your daily life is always beneficial but in very trying circumstances it is crucial to your wellbeing. I am actually doing very well considering the circumstances, and I only write about it so that others will have the benefit of my experiences. I am not after sympathy, in fact I find that sympathy tends to make things worse. We are our best as men when we give those men we care about shit to their face.
“You’re a dickhead, mate. Only a total loser would let his wife throw him out of the house. Where’s your nut sack? Pinned to a tree? A mango tree, ya fag.”
Such are the small and blessed comforts of life.
What I will say is that your expectation should be that you will wind up in similar dire straits in your life. Nothing is for ever and everything is on constant flux. This is really basic stuff but I find that it is exactly the really basic stuff that trips us up and that we need constant remaindering about. Sure, you can go and read Marcus Aurelius and deeply ponder the deep mysteries of life the universe and everything. But that’s small change when you’re out on your ear and you’re wondering where you’re going to sleep that night.
The fact that I have progressively grown more orderly over the course of my life has been a boon to me now in this moment of crisis. I didn’t just magically become a man of order once the shit went down. Our good habits that we develop as a day to day part of life then sustain us when everything that we thought was real turns out to be nothing more than foo-foo. If you have a distinct lack of good habits, if you are not centered as a man then inevitably you will be found wanting when the craporola hits the wind turbine. Anyone can survive the happy times, it’s what you do when you’re down and out that sorts you out.
So in my time of testing, yet another one on my long journey, I take comfort in my personal order. Writing this little article is another example of good habits. People who suffer a crisis and then melt down and go on a debauched orgy of drink and drugs have somewhat missed the point. You don’t survive and solve one set of problems by simply creating more. Of course, the escapism stems from an inability to face the unpleasant reality.
So here’s to order. That’s the real reason to go and clean up your room, no matter what some lunatic lefty professor might have to say on the subject.