Monday, February 10, 2014


The same urge I have to "straighten out" people who (IMHO) have the facts wrong has a more benign manifestation in my love of "sorting".I really enjoyed my undergraduate years as a mail sorter during the Christmas season. I was assigned the "West Road", mail from the main Tunbridge Wells post office where we worked, destined for the western and south-western areas of England. There were two frames for the West Road, with "pigeonholes" (slots) for the principal cities and towns, and a slot for "other" destinations. I never needed a second sorter, and I also set up many slots for lesser known towns, lessening the work for the sorters who accompanied the mail on the trains for the west. My thorough and speedy work so impressed my full-time colleagues that on my last day I was presented with a touching handwritten document, signed by all of them, congratulating me for single-handedly covering the West Road. The good side of my enjoyment of sorting is that there are times when this can be helpful for others. The bad side is when I take the time to "straighten out" someone unnecessarily, often for a trivial reason. Fortunately, there is a harmless way of "feeding" my obsession. When I first work on my computer most mornings, and before I go to bed, I usually play a form of solitaire known as "Free Cell". This almost always comes out for me, and my actual success rate is about 98%. I perfectly well understand how I am wasting time, but if it reduces my "need" to correct everybody else's errors, it is well worth while. My other outlet is my monthly work as proof reader and copy editor for the parish magazine. I bask in the compliments that I receive for this work.

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