Jane Green
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Piles Upon Piles

December 5th, 2016

Jane Green Tea TimeThe piles are threatening to take over my house. I do not think of myself as a hoarder, and I very much like living in a space that is clean and tidy, but I don’t seem to have any control over the piles of papers that accumulate in every room of the house.

Nobody would ever think it, looking at pictures of my perfect kitchen counters on Instagram. They have no idea that seconds before I shot the picture, I slid everything on the counter three feet to the left.

If you look at my office from one angle, it is exquisite: grasscloth wallpaper, elegant brass light fixtures, embroidered cushions, but turn  your head 60 degrees and it is piles and piles of paper, pictures frames, hats, knitting I haven’t picked up for over a year, and handbags. I have no idea why the handbags are accumulating in my office. Possibly it’s because there is no more room in my wardrobe, but either way, there they are.

Two weeks ago I met up with a very old friend I hadn’t seen in years. Now that she has a family, she has given up her high-powered, all-consuming job, and has reinvented herself as a professional organizer. I could do with one of those, I said, jokingly, and before I knew it, we had a date in the diary. 

She had said she would start with my closet, but as the day approached, I found myself walking through the house casting a guilty glance at the various piles scattered throughout. Perhaps we ought to start in my office, I thought, noting that two piles had miraculously given birth to three more while my head was turned. Or perhaps we could start with the larder in the kitchen, I thought, pulling open the door to look for a tin of tomatoes, giving up shortly thereafter because I couldn’t face taking out the forty six half-empty packets of rice and pasta that were blocking the front of every shelf.

The day before she was due to come, she sent me a text. Hope we’re still on for tomorrow, she said, but if you’re too busy, I completely understand. I read the text from my vantage point of large squashy sofa, where I had been happily ensconced for a few hours with a wonderful book. I am so busy, I wrote back. Let’s try again in a few weeks!

I got up to make myself a cup of tea and knocked a few piles over on my way out the office. Oh well. In a few weeks they may possibly be gone, so in the meantime I shall welcome them with open arms.

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