A madness that readers of this blog likely share is the compulsion to record everything. Numbers from the gym, a spreadsheet of assets, a diet tracker, a to-do list…I want them all. But I’m also very bad at organizing my life. I’m a little strange this way…
See, back during the Bad Times, one of my ROTC instructors tasked us with one of those “illuminatory” tasks to show us how much time we waste in a day. We were to make a twice-hourly report of how we spent our time. No doubt we would see our wasteful, capitalist decadence and cry “See how much more I can do for my country?” The success of this exercise was assured, as we were all well-adjusted adults. (Oh, wait…)
So when the instructor asked her room full of overqualified-idiot-children-in-training whether anyone had found extra time to devote to the Motherland, the immediate, nigh-unanimous show of hands indicated that everyone was on board. Perhaps a hand or two remained discreetly in the bearer’s lap, which is the strongest form of dissent that is proper in our modern military.
Unless you are naive, clueless, and ingenopathic.
When she dismissively asked my class if anyone could report results to the contrary, my hand stood alone. Thinking back, this happened quite a lot, particularly after someone had said “Any questions?” and even more particularly followed by me saying “Wouldn’t it be better/easier/more efficient if…?”. A bit less particularly, I remember groans and heads shaking. (In retrospect this feels good- I think many of them genuinely cared about me.) A pattern-forming sort of person like me really should have caught on in the space of four years, but I’ve never been…ah…strictly “present” all of the time.
If I may strike off on a tangent from this tangent, this proclivity of mine must have become rather predictable. The CEO of Xe (formerly Blackwater) once gave a speech and did Q&A at our detachment. As is my wont, a Q&A seemed like a perfect sort of time for asking questions. When my hand went up, my fellow cadets made sure to vet my question patiently before the microphone reached my hand. (Understand, this event included fancy clothes, fanfare, an awfully large audience, and a non-negligible chance of high embarrassment.) I asked something to this effect:
“You mentioned that a small, well-trained, experienced force like Blackwater is best-suited for the sort of fourth-generation warfare we’re seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq. So what is a force like the traditional military best suited for?”
Innocent enough, but I don’t remember him being entirely forthright with his opinion.
Anyway, back to the ROTC classroom, where my raised hand is contradicting a demonstration by a very senior officer. I dutifully reported that I had not found extra time in my day, but had in fact lost precious time by keeping the records. This was true, naturally, because this was during the Bad Times. Though I can’t remember perfectly, I probably would have explained that if I had any extra time in a day, I would have spent it sleeping. Time was at a premium then, and always occupied my overextended executive functions.
Normal people will not believe this because balanced, well-adjusted adults have a natural tendency to relax, even if only occasionally. I did not have this tendency, and it may be that I never will. This can stress my relationships with ordinary people, as so many of my tendencies seem to do. My parents, for instance, are under the (perhaps) heuristically defensible impression that video games are my primary pasttime. Indeed, I receive many lectures to the effect that I need to spend less time playing video games and more time improving my standing in life. Now, I usually remind them that I do not, in fact, play video games much at all, and never more than two hours in a given month (and this, clearly, because I enjoy the feeling of being ignored).
Time to close this tangent off. So…engage CSS class segue. Whoosh!
Here at Aeoli Pera, we don’t skimp on the special effects.
Anyway, the basic problem is that I can’t record everything I want to, and that makes me a sad, captive, infertile panda bear. So I have to decide what’s important, and keep tabs on those, and just live with the reality that comprehensive documentation and multiple regression are just not the most efficient way to organize my life, determine which habits are most beneficial, and tell me where I could have possibly put my keys (oh yes, I recorded in my spreadsheet that I left them in location “B1″…and I’d know what that meant if I could find my codebook which is also in location B1…).
800 unrelated words later, I’ve come to my conclusion, which is that most of all I want to keep track of my health, my mental health, my intellectual and creative adventures, and my spiritual disciplines (and least until I have a relationship with Christ that goes beyond the basic blog post: “Been awhile, ain’t it?”). My plan, in spite of my philosophy to keep things as holistic as possible, is to split the boring stuff and the flashy stuff. The boring stuff will go on Viktor Isaksen, and the flashy stuff will go on Aeoli Pera.
This method will reinforce my basic digital disinformation campaign (about which I will possibly blog another time), which is to convince lazy fact checkers that the online persona Aeoli Pera belongs to a fictitious person named Viktor.