I have a lot of random childhood memories that spring to mind at the oddest moments.
The other day, at work, when I was throwing a scrap of paper into the bin and, it not being suitably aerodynamic for the course I had intended it to take, it fell somewhere beside the bin. (You can just tell this is going to be an absolutely riveting post, hey?) In this moment, as I contemplated the pros and cons of picking it up versus leaving it there (for the time being, at least), I randomly recalled this event from my childhood:
I was either nine or ten years old – because this happened in grade five (at least, I think this happened in grade five) – and I was sitting in my classroom, with the rest of the class, while the teacher lectured us about keeping the place clean, and common decency in general.
One of the things he said was something along the lines of “You wouldn’t litter and leave trash around your own home, so don’t do it at school.”
After he said this, I heard one of the girls I was sitting near mutter under her breath something along the lines of “How do you know I don’t do that? Maybe my house is a mess.”
I still remember that moment – or at least the basic gist of that moment – and I remember kind of nodding to myself in agreement with what my classmate had said. But, at the same time, I understood perfectly what the teacher was trying to communicate to us. Of course, I think I was under the impression, even then, that it was ok if your home wasn’t so neat and tidy and spotless; but if you’re in a public/shared space, then you are obliged, by common decency, to not make a mess. I just thought that perhaps the teacher used the wrong angle on that one.
Anyway, back to the present predicament of picking up the scrap of paper or leaving it where it was: I did actually pick it up straightaway. I would’ve felt bad leaving it there, and it may have distracted me from my work (sometimes I’m easily distracted).
Well, there was that memory prodding away at my conscience, but also I’d like to think that I’m just a pretty neat & tidy person in general. I like having things organised – mostly because there are a lot of things, and if they’re not organised, I might not be able to find them. I wouldn’t say that I’m OCD (a friend once told me that I don’t have the “obsessive” part of OCD, just the “compulsive” part, and I’d have to agree with that) but I do like having a place for everything, and everything in it’s place.
Random side story that’s kind of related but not really:
In our grade five classroom, we had a box amongst other boxes that was used for storing scrap paper, and it was marked as such on the front of it. From where I sat in the classroom, however, the “S” in “scrap” was obscured by some other object (probably another box), thus creating a word that still adequately described the box’s contents, but which was more crude. And, although I did not bother to share this observation with anyone, I do remember being quite amused by it the first time I noticed.