Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling, recently observed that one of the virtues of being disorganized is that in sorting through her piles of “stuff, ”she sometimes rediscovers unrelated lost treasures.” (“The Secret Delights of Disorder by Meg Wolitzer, More, 10/12, pg. 184) Like me, I suspect she shares an awe of those who organize documents for a living — historians, librarians and such.
The other day, one of those miraculous masters of organization sent me an email, the assistant clerk of the county board to which I was once elected. I was surprised to receive her communication as I’d left politics over two decades ago. The young woman had come across a public statement I’d read into the record in 1989. Why she was scrabbling through those files I don’t know, but she took delight in what I’d written and decided to send me a copy of my ancient remarks.
I remember the occasion of thm well yet blush at my temerity for having quoted William Wordsworth in my defense: The Child is Father of the Man.” I did so because the press had decided to make a fuss about my decision to sit on the floor during a committee meeting. It wasn’t a public meeting but a working one. I was in jeans and a sweatshirt and the floor seemed more appealing than the wooden chair I’d been provided. Sitting on the floor didn’t affect the quality of my work or the seriousness to which I attended to the agenda. Yet the daily newspaper made a fuss which I thought was unfair and said so. After 23 years, I confess I still like me rant and stand by it.
Children are free to express their sense that something is fair or unfair while adults, worn down by experience, often come to the conclusion that it is easier to capitulate than to cry foul.
What’s more, it heartens me that after all this time, an assistant clerk of the board should find my words among the dusty sheaves of public documents and be amused enough to send them to me. As Wolitzer would say, a happy find among the clutter.