The Last Word on Organization

Michael Beard, aging Nobel laureate and wholesale curmudgeon, has always been a slob. Partially domesticated in his early 60s, he reflects back on his inability to get organized.

And now that he had entered upon the final active stages of his life, he was beginning to understand that, barring accidents, life did not change. He had been deluded. He had always assumed that a time would come in adulthood, a kind of plateau, when he would have learned all the tricks of managing, of simply being. All mail and e-mails answered, all papers in order, books alphabetically on the shelves, clothes and shoes in good repair in the wardrobes, and all his stuff where he could find it, with the past, including its letters and photographs, sorted into boxes and files, the private life settled and serene, accommodation and finances likewise. In all these years this settlement, the calm plateau, had never appeared, and yet he had continued to assume, without reflecting on the matter, that it was just around the next turn, when he would exert himself and reach it, that moment when his life became clear and his mind free, when his grown-up existence could properly begin. [Then] he thought he saw it for the first time: on the day he died he would be wearing unmatching socks, there would be unanswered e-mails, and in the hovel he called home there would still be shirts missing cuff buttons, a malfunctioning light in the hall, and unpaid bills, uncleared attics, dead flies, friends waiting for a reply, and lovers he had not owned up to. Oblivion, the last word in organization, would be his only consolation.

From Solar, by Ian McEwan (published 2010).

Advertisements
Published in: on September 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://litsnips.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/the-last-word-on-organization/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: