COLUMN: In the presence of the absence of order

Funny how we all have our own sense of order, or absence thereof.

Funny how we all have our own sense of order, or absence thereof.

For instance, I live with two females who have highly developed concepts of order … in regard to certain things.

My daughter’s school binders are precisely labelled, filed and for all I know, cross-referenced and indexed. Her homework scheduling is a matter of precise timing, and tactical and strategic planning.

Her closet is colour-coded, and clothes are racked by style and season. Before that all seems too bizarre for a young teen, her room itself often resembles the aftermath of a terrorist bombing.

My wife’s affairs are equally ordered. I mean her work and day-to-day affairs, not the other ones. Not that I’m suggesting for a second that there any of those. But if there were, I’m sure they’d be well organized, too. Which would explain why I don’t know about them. Not that I’m inferring in any way that there is anything I ought to know about.

I’m leaving that now, before I dig myself into a pit of domestic trouble so deep I can’t see daylight.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to illustrate is that both of the fine women in my life are highly structured, keenly ordered individuals.

My wife chases down crumbs in the kitchen with extreme prejudice. My daughter has her bathroom products arranged via a library decimal system.

So… here’s the thing. How does that explain the Tupperware? And let’s include the cookware while we’re at it.

First, a step back for a moment for context. We have a fair amount of Tupperware, not because I’m obsessed with the product, but because I use it a lot to store left-overs, lunches and easy-to-prepare meals for our octogenarian moms.

You need to know I am an orderly person as well, especially in the kitchen, which is my culinary domain.

Mixing bowls in this drawer. Pots in that one. Pans and trays up there, gadgets and tools categorized, compartmentalized and placed perpendicular – here, here and here.

The Tupperware goes into two cupboards. Meal-sized on the left, according to the colour of the lids. Medium containers on the shelf below. Big storage buckets on the bottom. On the right, condiment cups, yogurt containers, and various sundry bits that fit in none of the types above.

You need a particular piece of Tupperware, your can close you eyes, reach in and grab it.

Precision. Continuity. The universe unfolding as it should.

Until … one of the girls empties the dishwasher.

Pots mixed with the mixing bowls. Kitchen tools akimbo in the handiest drawer. Can opener in with the cheese slicer. Turkey baster next to the electric mixer whisks.

A clear collapse of order.

And then there’s the Tupperware… utter madness. Absolute chaos.

Little with big. Big with medium. Lids hastily shelved like an exploded deck of cards. Precarious towers of Tupperware, bunged in whatever space is available, with the door quickly shut, creating a boobytrap of cascading tubs to be unleashed by the next person to seek a container. That is almost always me.

I now approach the Tupperware cupboards as though they contain vials of nitroglycerine, or a rattlesnake. It doesn’t matter. Once the plastic landslide is unleashed, all that can be done is step back and watch.

And then… try to restore some harmony in the universe.

Little ones up on the left. Medium in the middle. Big on the bottom.

It’s all so simple, don’t you see?

It’s not just my house though. Sometimes, I look around and think, “The world has really got to get its Tuppeware in order.”