Me: I feel like it's time for a clean sweep, so, like, everything that's on the floor, sweep, I'm throwing it away. I'm getting a robot to take everything on the floor and throw it away.
The historian: [nods]
Me: ...and then I'd get a slightly taller robot to [gesture at stuff that's at the level of a slightly taller robot, laying around]. You know. They can do that, they're smart like that.
The historian: [gets up from the bed] You know, some people are more systematic, I guess, and they just never [gestures at the stuff on the slightly taller robot level]--
Me: Yeah, I know.
The historian: ... but, you know, you say, you say the virtue of disorder is surprise [actual line in an actual poem I wrote], so when you find stuff--
Me: --that's the pleasure, right--
The historian: --that's great, but if you'd gotten rid of that stuff, you'd also never miss the surprises.
It's plausible that his observation might be correct, except Exhibit A: my former red cowboy boots.
(not my actual cowboy boots.
Those I gave away. WOE.)
Once I had a pair of red cowboy boots. I bought them at the downtown Nordstrom when the downtown Nordstrom was pretty new. I thought I was beyond in those boots. And then, sometime later, in a fit of "are these relevant to my life/style/gestalt NOW?" getting rid of stuff, I gave them away. But just the other day, I was all, "I need a pair of cowboy boots." and the historian was all, "Didn't you used to have some?a pair of red cowboy boots?" and I was all, "ou sont les cowboy boots d'antan?"
I read a thing on this great blog, Closet Visit, that a highly stylish woman said that she never gave anything away. She just stored it for when she might want it again. This makes sense to me, especially if you have a highly edited style to begin with. But periodically I will think about the opposite advice--you know, the "if you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it" philosophy. I have to say, this can't be right. You have to have such a super focused style for that to even be remotely workable. And who has that?
Well, I am regretting those red cowboy boots, regretting them hard. And now it will be my quest to figure out how to find another pair that won't cost me an arm and a leg. Wouldn't it have been awesome if I had put those boots away somewhere, in the disorderly way I do, and then turned them up while going through some closet or bin or something, and it would have been one of those virtuous surprises my poem refers to. No such luck. I done gave them away.
So, really, the historian's point about not missing the surprises that don't occur because you're orderly seems wrong to me. Really, it seems to me that there's probably a secret world of surprises, discovered or not, waiting all around us, and it would be such a shame to miss them through excess of tidiness.