For example, what Tom considered keeping things conveniently available, I considered cluttering. We talked about this in terms of the purpose of horizontal surfaces. For Tom, a horizontal surface -- table, countertop -- is there for you to put things on in case you may need them later. For me, a horizontal surface is a pleasing, non-obtrusive visual element best appreciated when there is nothing atop it.
This early discussion is back now that we have moved into a new apartment.
Like many things, this difference of opinion results from -- besides Tom's wrong-headedness, of course -- different life experiences.
Before we began to share the apartment on Kimbark, Tom spent thirty years raising a family, many of those years with hordes of teenagers aimlessly roaming about and dropping things wherever. He came to consider this just the way things are. It is what it is, dude. It makes a house a home.
I, on the other hand, had spent those same thirty years in a monastery. Although one's own room(s) could be -- and many were -- a disaster area, the ideal for common areas -- living rooms, conference rooms, dining room, kitchen and all that stuff outside one's own bedroom and work area -- was supposed to be kept clean and orderly. One could mess it up all one wanted when using it. But when we left, we tried to leave it presentable for the next person to find.
Were we compulsive about this? Well, some of us, not to name my own name, were. But my mother would tell you this was not the way I had always been. She was shocked the first time she visited me in the monastery when she saw how clean my room was. She reminded me that when I was a teenager and she told me to clean up my room because we were having company, my response was, "What business is it of theirs how I keep my room?"
So, the question of the day is:
Are horizontal surfaces made to hold things or are they there to be kept empty or at least orderly?Talk among yourselves. There is only one right answer.
Sheldon Cooper neither inspired nor co-authored this post.