Cleaning the shelves I’ve removed all of the considerable numbers of books and immediately regretted my chutzpah whilst realising I have massively underestimated the amount of time it will take me to do it properly.
I decided to begin when I grew tired of waiting for a response from my web host’s customer support team.
Trying to make contact with them by phone is like trying to secure Glastonbury tickets so I’ve resorted to the online chat service where I have been waiting for, so far, ninety minutes.
“Perhaps I should sort these into alphabetical order. Although shelves ordered by colour look nice too,” I say half to myself and half to my daughter who is on the sofa hunched over her laptop.
“Colours are really hard because you also have to think about book size,” she points out. “And alphabetical order isn’t really you, is it?” she adds, a few moments later without looking up.
“No, I’m more chaos and hope than order and style aren’t I?”
She doesn’t answer.
Talking of chaos and hope there’s still no response from the online chat so, while I’m deciding what to do about the books, I tweet a summary of my satisfaction to the hosting company, which takes far fewer than 280 characters.
In meta fashion, they don’t respond but another hosting company does and, within a couple of days, I’ve moved my entire website seamlessly.
The old company finally notices I’m gone when I cancel my account and I get an email from them asking if there is anything they can do to get me back.
“It’s too late,” I reply.
They write again,
“Could you give us some feedback about why you decided to leave us?”
I give them both barrels.
Within hours I get another email offering me a vastly reduced price to return, even though none of my complaints had been about price.
I point out that I would never have left if they’d shown even a fraction of this interest in me while I was with them.
It reminds me of a girl I dated once who I got tired off and dumped. Almost immediately she started dating one of my friends and I decided I wanted her back, a move that was nothing to do with how I felt about her and everything to do with an emotion I could not tolerate in myself.
If this year has taught us anything then surely it’s the need to be flexible and think about the problem rather than reaching immediately for a solution that probably won’t fit.
There’s a bridge over the river Choluteca in Honduras, built to withstand even the most violent storms and floods, but when Hurricane Mitch blew into Honduras in 1998 it washed away everything, apart from the bridge.
The storm was so bad that the river carved itself a new path, right next to where it had originally flowed.
So the Choluteca Bridge no longer stood over the river and no longer had any roads leading onto it from any direction. It was a bridge over nothing leading to nowhere. The perfect solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
Tiring of the rearrangement of books I finally acknowledge that I will never be the person who respects his own self-imposed organisational structure. I’ll know that what I’m looking for is there somewhere and its best I just accept I’m trying to solve myself a problem that does not exist.