you are from mars; I am from pluto

Not long ago, I asked middle child what I should write about that day. “Where the heck are my car keys?” she replied, a topic suggested by her present frenzied search for her own. I could completely sympathize, considering my Facebook status for the day was “I am grateful for all the exercise I got today walking around the Walmart parking lot with no clue where I had parked the car.” This is the reason, I tell her, we gave birth to her at all. She is the one who always knows where the car is when we go shopping. I am genetically incapable of storing such information. It is also the reason, I tell her, she may never leave home. I will end my days roaming some mall lot, like the man who boarded the train to Boston and never returned, because she is no longer there to tell me where my vehicle is in that endless sea of metal.

Some people always know where their car keys are. And their car. They know what is for dinner a month from Tuesday, where the visa bill is and precisely what date to mail it by, and they can not only locate their child’s white blouse for the orchestra concert next week, but they have it cleaned and ironed two days before. They also completely catch up on all email every day and mail their Christmas cards by Halloween.

Then there are those whose lives depend on aotupay for those bills they cannot find beneath the pile of paper and random items on the counter, none of which, they fervently hope, is spoiling food. These people rush to Target fifteen minutes before the orchestra concert to purchase a white blouse. Their response to the word “iron” is a perplexed look and a mumbled “Iron? What is this thing you call, ‘iron’?” Guess which category I naturally fall into?

Now, if you are one of those first paragraph people, please do not comment with all the wonderful systems that work for you. If there is one thing I’ve learned from attempts to get organized, it is that what works for someone who is naturally organized will never work for one who is not. Our brains do not compute in the same fashion. You are from Mars, we are from, probably Pluto (which is a planet).

So why am I telling you all this? Because, as one might expect in January what with all the storage boxes and and closet systems cropping up on sale like there was some bumper crop of purple plastic somewhere, today is National Organize Your Home Day. This is, I believe, the number two New Year’s resolution people make and do not keep.

But I’m not actually here to talk about repairing the lives of us second-paragraph-Plutonean people. (Though a keyrack right next to the door has been my salvation.) If you want that, I highly recommend http://www.flylady.net/–she gets us plutoneans so well and has a system that does work for us. I will probably rave about it another time. But my point here is simply this: The Mars people, who tend to run this world, don’t understand why us Pluto people won’t be like them.

They fervently believe that we lack the motivation, intelligence, information, or all of the above, and that if they just provide us with all of that, we can be like them. Often, Pluto is married to Mars, and that ain’t fun, Mister. But here are the facts: we can’t be like them, any more than a penguin from Antarctica can be like a camel in the Sahara. And here’s a secret we don’t usually tell-we don’t want to be. We have a different mindset different skill set, and different ideas of what’s important.

In fact, I recently tried to recycle my ironing board, based on the very Marsish idea that if I hadn’t used it in ten years, I didn’t need it. No one else wanted either, leading me to believe there are a lot of other happy rumpled people out there. Perhaps, Mars, you are outnumbered. Don’t worry though, we’ll never get organized enough to overthrow you. And why should we? Who wants to run the world anyway? This is why presidents always look 20 years older after four years in charge. We don’t want to run the place; we just don’t want to be treated like Billy Carter.

If this blog stops abruptly one day, please come look for me. I’ll be at the mall. In the parking lot.

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