Top Drawer

posted by SWC on June 28th, 2011 · 1 Comment | | Printer Friendly Version

An exercise.

Under my elbows is a desk drawer, a bordered chaos, unconnected to any of the larger chaoses that we ignore or deal with as each day begins, or ends.

(Note: chaos is a word not easily found pluralized in or out of dictionaries.  A website, “More Words” affirms that it is a valid word which has no direct anagrams, although there are many words that can be found within chaoses, like shoes or aches or ashes.)

First there is a packet of yellow Post-Its, which does not belong in this drawer but in the supply drawer on my right.  Done.  What else?  A small scissors that once belonged in a pocket sewing kit.  A pen light to be used in case of a sudden power outage.  A number of items that probably should also be in the supply drawer: several tins of paper clips, a Scotch tape roll, two small pencil sharpeners, two black Pilot pens still encased in the plastic packaging they came in.  Erasers, other pens, a box of very small and infrequently used staples.  It is difficult to throw anything out once it is tossed into this drawer.  Dental floss, both the waxed and the unwaxed kind, many band-aids, several alcohol swabs, useful for finger cuts caused by poking around in the drawer, and for removing ink stains from the white Formica desk top.  A power-drained AA battery.  Small plastic wrapped postage reply envelopes for returning empty printer cartridges.  Two outdated and therefore useless Metro North train tickets.  Nail clippers, tweezers, buttons, safety pins, coins,  including a film container filled with Sacajawea dollars.  Keys, some for locks of unknown whereabouts.   Several small magnifying glasses.  Some pretty stones and shells that sometimes provide an aesthetic jolt when I open the drawer and see them among the expected debris.  One amusing stone has the size, shape and color of a cigar which I have had for years and cannot yet throw away.  Of course all these items will one day find their way into a large black plastic bag.  That is altogether a tomorrow thing.  There is also a torn dollar bill (torn by rage, accident, or found that way?) which I had once hoped to restore to its now disappeared other half.

There is along with all the above a small puzzle that has survived in one drawer or another since my childhood, when it was bought for me by my aunt. I think it was originally called The Imp.  It is an approximately two and a quarter inch metal square with movable numbers–one to fifteen–which the puzzler arranges in the usual order horizontally (to the left or right),  or  vertically, or in spirals (also to the left or right), with the sixteenth (blank) space at the end.  Over the years, as one might suspect,  I have become pretty good at doing this little puzzle, especially when I am arranging the numbers from the left to the right, or clockwise.  I have kept it because solving the puzzle clears my mind and gives me a momentary illusion of exceptional competence,  which is something many sentient beings strive for in what ever small thing they do.

One comment

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