Friday, November 30, 2012

Just Google your clutter away!

I’ve just learned Google’s lofty corporate mission statement is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Hey!  That’s MY mission statement! 

Well, at the very least I’d like to know what’s in these stacks o’ stuff on my desk.  There may be something important in there!  Something universally useful.

And I must sort through those piles of historic pictures of my family in stoic poses from Dust Bowl Oklahoma.  (My husband says I have the same stern look as my great-great grandfather, James Ledford.  Piercing eyes.  Pretty sure Grandpa got his way.  It worked for me too, in the public schools, that look.  But not so much with the husband and son.)

I have begun a preliminary assessment and laid out the pictures on our pool table in piles by generation and side of the family.  But people had to go and get married and then pose with each other across branches of family trees in many orchards, muddling up my system. 

If I ever achieve the mission of getting those pics organized and “universally accessible,” we’ll celebrate with a game of 8-ball.  How do you like that, Googlemeister?

Then there’s that cache of Tupperware containers in the closet in the guest bedroom that no one but the cats and I ever put noses on.  While I have no firm memories of precisely what’s in there, I’m sure as shootin’ not going to throw it away!  That closet has a door!

The utensil drawer in the kitchen reflects my ardent search for a perfect egg-flipping spatula.  Variations of imperfection are myriad, impressive and all present.  They don’t leave the drawer; they just work their way down, lower and lower in the spatula hierarchy, like items on pages 2 through 22 of a Google search.  No one’s ever going to look there, click on those links, or flip another egg with any of those rejects. 

That’s the utensil drawer.  If not organized, at least “useful” by definition.

But the most telling in the constellation of stuff needing a firm organizational hand in the Plath household is the de facto surrender of logic and incomprehensible attachment to the obsolete and unidentifiable jumble of the Junk Drawer. 

Chock full of paper clips, nearly spent note pads, rumpled recipes that sound really good, pens with a little ink, mechanical pencils without lead, and leads that don’t fit those pencils.  Oh we have crunkled cylinders of epoxy, a bent nail, an assortment push pins and that magnet with the vet’s name and phone number on it.  All of it filling the wells and straddling the dividing partitions of a drawer organizer.

Don’t judge until you eliminate your own Junk Drawer!

Google and I have this in common:  We provide the illusion of organization and accessibility.  We make our paraphernalia appear orderly.  I do it with closed doors and drawers, and squared-up corners on piles of papers.  I can find most of what I remember I have.  I can still get the car in the garage! 

I’m not worried about it.  I’ll get excited when our extraneous possessions come life at night and dance to the light of the moon.

But Google winks at us with instant access to colorful lists extending to the virtual horizon.  Answers to any query at any time.  Google’s actually at work now developing software that will anticipate our questions and provide us with what we “need to know” before we even think to ask.  Yikes.

This much is clear:  We both have too much crap-ola.  (Excuse me please.  I was overcome by an impulse of truth telling.)  

Ironically, you can find self-help sites dealing with disorder, confusion and chaos by Googling “clutter control.”  That search produces no fewer than 308 websites offering tips for putting a leash on your burgeoning bailiwick.  A person could argue that the list itself constitutes useless, disorganized clutter!  But it is accessible!

I didn’t see a single site that sorted out how to sort out too many options available on information searches. And I’m beginning to think Google is the one with the problem, highfalutin mission statement or not!

Meanwhile, I’m pondering Google’s Code of Conduct.

Really.  Honestly.  This is it:  “Don’t be evil.” 

Go ahead.  Google it.