On Friday the people I share my office with, Terri and Emily, were discussing their tendencies to construct piles of stuff on and around their desks.  Being a piler myself I understand this propensity to assign papers to various piles according to their level of done-ness.  As in a pile for ‘to do’, a pile for ‘in progress’ and a pile for ‘done’.  (Those are my mental labels for the piles; I have no idea what names Emily and Terri use; I’m sure whatever the names are, they make sense to them.) If there were only these three piles there really wouldn’t be much to discuss; there are, of course, multiple piles ‘o stuff awaiting attention.

Each of the three main piles are further broken down by topic.  For me, that would be, 1st and 2nd period, 3rd period, Juniors (with the sub categories of job shadowing, zero period and research papers), Seniors (subdivided into senior project portfolio, senior project presentations, and senior survey), Sophomores (Saturday seminars and field trip…which reminds me there is a pile for ‘field trips 9-12’), Recruitment (application, application procedures, applications to review), Fundraisers (I ignore this pile a lot), and Ideas for next year.  Obviously my piling is out of control; but it works for me.

Emily and Terri were wondering where their piling tendencies came from.  They both decided it was genetic.  Both of Terri’s brothers are pilers as was Emily’s mom.  Now I should point out that Emily’s piles are neatly stacked while mine and Terri’s are in a perpetual state of nearly falling over and/or sliding off the table or desk we have put them on.  Since they both associated their propensity for piling with genetics I, of course, began to wonder where my tendency to pile comes from.

It doesn’t come from my parents, both of them are stuffers/hiders/organizers.  Growing up the house always appeared neat and tidy, until you opened a closet, or my mom’s recipe drawer.  Ok, it wasn’t really that bad, my dad liked to organize the closets and periodically he would purge the stuff in them for garage sales, but the point is, there were no piles…except in my room.  So again I find myself wondering do I pile because I was anti-stuffing, or because it’s genetic?

What things will suddenly make perfect sense when and if I locate my birth family?  My penchant for personifying inanimate objects; especially while inebriated?  My desire to build things out of wood?  Or maybe my habit of kicking my right ankle with my left shoe while I’m running?  Who knows, but I still wonder.


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