Sometimes I feel quite unorganized when dealing with paper projects on the dining room table just before dinner. When I was growing up, the dining room table, if one was allowed to eat there, was a formal affair with table settings that promoted only the best was about to occur. Now my dining room table seems like Grand Central Station with papers and projects in various states of being performed. Perhaps I should file the papers on the dining room table, or perhaps I should start dinner, which is always a chore because, in one sense I like to cook and I love the outcome when I had a great recipe turn out, but sometimes I find that it is such a chore to always have to cook day in and day out, as well as set up a dining room table that welcomes one to the table. On one hand I do get bored with my cooking and I suspect even my daughter is bored with what I cook, although the consequences of complaining can produce a variety of reactions, but mostly one that I think is the best, “if you can do it better, you cook the next meal.” I vary things, add new spices, and add more vegetables to open my realm for different tasting foods. One thing is for certain, the dining room table is the central force in my home where life starts in the morning and at night, we catch up on the day’s events during our dinner.
I think sometimes that many of the surfaces that exist in my house support my various paper trails and projects. Things are likely to get filed when the project is completed, because sometimes there are too many parts and pieces to move and I like to keep the sequences together. My daughter so likes to study her books at the dining room table, which compounds the papers on the table top, even though I want her to retire upstairs to her study room. Is it just that she likes my company or are the hardback books even more cumbersome to carry since when I went to school? The books are necessary items, as are the papers on my dining room table, and I can even go as far to say that even though we have computers to compress words, we still have to print those pages out, or send our daily letters and papers off to various locations to be printed out at that location. At the instant of a fingertip, why do our children’s books and our papers become ever the heavier and the output of paper seems endlessly longer. I have the same complaint for the mail that comes into our houses, and I try to get to it, weed out the junk mail, but sometimes it too becomes part of the dining table landscape, a heap here and there, “filed” when the day’s over and the dinner landscape takes precedence over the paper rush of the day.
I can’t quite fathom the meaning of what one of the appraiser’s said to me in 1981, when I was working for him and his associates in the commercial appraisal office. He told me to go next door and learn how to use the computer because my paperwork with the commercial appraisals and papers in general will become part of the past. He envisioned that all paper work will become extinct, and with the ease of punching out the bonehead of our appraisals will be just a touch of the finger, and perhaps a word and a figure here and there added to ease my work load. I remember being in awe of what he said, and I went next door to learn the computer and I found it to be easy and such a wonderful asset for our office. Now in looking back fondly on my memory of my boss and his kind words, I am so grateful almost thirty years later, of such ease to write my stories and papers. Would he have known that phones would become part of the realm of a punch of finger-tip, to send letters and documents and that the eye of the camera would also be part of this same miniature apparatus. I wish that I could thank him for his graciousness in letting me learn how to push my papers in and out of my computer with such ease as a touch of my fingertip, even though some of them end up on my dining room table at times. I often ask myself did he ever envision or know that with the ease of such computer language that we can write copiously more in a given day or night, and then we can have even more output to be printed on paper, to use again and again in the project of life.
I still take my hat off to my boss back then, because he took the time let me know how to train on the new office tool, a computer, and that training has carried me through the business world, and into my own writing realm. He had the vision, now all we need to do is to find the way to lessen the paper trail.
Copyright 2010 Helen Weber Holden-Gladsky