MY FENG HAS
20 September 2002
Dr. G doesn't like clutter. His way of de-cluttering his desk is to hand me a pile of
work to be done, to get it off his desk, and then 20 minutes later, tsk-tsk over how
cluttered my desk is.
The main problem I've had is no desk space. No flat surface on which to work. The
computer desk I've been using is so small that there is no place to put any copy I'm
working from and I had to go out and buy one of those things that you hang on the side of
As for my main desk, while it's nice and big, it also had so much stuff piled on it,
waiting to be worked on, filed, written, whatever that if you ask me to do anything, it
just stacks things up higher and I never get to the bottom. I believe I mentioned recently
that it was not uncommon to have all the paperwork to be added to the ledger cards under
the files for today, under files that have things to be put in them, under the checkbook
because Dr. G needs a check right now...and then on top of that goes some more
stuff to do for "The Book" (that he's writing), and then the appointment book
because the current patient needs to make a return appointment.
Until yesterday, Dr. G has been (unhappily) tolerating the mess because all he had to
do was look around to realize that there was absolutely no other choice. I've been telling
him if we had another desk or cabinet, I'd be able to find some semblance of order
(insofar as I am able to create "order").
The Desk was ordered a month or two ago and has been ready to be picked up for several
weeks now, but somehow Dr. G never had the time to go get it.
Yesterday was the day.
Actually the day before yesterday was the day.
"Meet me at the office at 11 a.m. and we'll unload the desk before I go to my
meeting," he said.
"I know you. Call me from the freeway when you're near the office and I'll leave
the house then," I told him.
When I got home from LA, Walt said that Dr. G had called to again tell me to be at the
office at 11 and that he would be there at 11.
Silly me. I took him at his word.
At 11:15, he called to say that he wasn't able to get into Sacramento after all and
that he'd do it the next day. I sighed and went back home and back to the transcription
I'd left to go down and meet him.
But finally on Tuesday he showed up with The Desk in a pull-truck on the back of his
car (which he then parked for the afternoon, taking up three parking spaces, including a
He had arrived later than anticipated, and I'd had everything piled on my desk waiting
for him for half an hour. A patient was already sitting there waiting for him. We quickly
uncrated the desk, he pushed it into place and beamed--the furniture matched. There was
lots of flat space. He could see "organization" in the future.
While he took the patient back into his office to talk to her, I started the monumental
task of getting everything organized.
When the patient had finished her visit, I still had the computer only half installed
(because I had to go get a longer phone cord for the modem and I couldn't leave the office
until I'd helped with the physical exam). When Dr. G escorted the patient out to tell me
which tests to order for her, he looked at the mountain of stuff on my desk and said
"Now, you told me that if you had another desk I'd see some organization
here..." I think he was only half kidding.
Throughout the day, in between making reservations for all the people calling about a
menopause seminar he's conducting on Saturday, and calling the pharmacies and the labs
about prescriptions and tests to be ordered, making followup appointments, going through
the mountain of mail, and helping with physical exams, (and fielding his questions about
when I was going to give him a financial statement) I continued to work on the office
reorganization. I managed to get the computer in and installed (not easy, since this
involves running cords through the desk and, since it's not on the wheels it came with, it
meant moving the heavy piece of furniture a few times--certainly a lot easier minus 70+
lbs!), moving the FAX machine, and going through all the many piles of things, trying to
find a logical place to put everything so it would be all nice and neat.
I was still working on it at the end of the day. A small fan which my predecessor had
brought in and which clips on the side of a shelf, for which I no longer had room, had to
be moved out of the way, and I stuck it on top of the office radio, and a box I had
emptied to put paper on one of the desk shelves was sitting on the top of the file cabinet
under the radio.
He walked out of his office, surveyed the improving scene, spied the fan, picked it up
and said "This can't stay here. This may be your space, but it's my
office and I have an image to uphold."
That I didn't hit him over the head with the fan is a testiment to my wonderful
self-restraint. All I said was "Do you really think I'm planning to leave it
there? I haven't finished yet. Gimme a break."
To his credit, he didn't follow up on it. I think he realized how close I was to
bopping him one.
Today, I managed to both tame the wild checkbook--finally--and also clean off most of
my desk. I am finally "organized" in and around the new desk. At the end of the
day, I looked at this vast expanse that was my desk and said to Dr. G--"this is
almost scary. Look at all this space!"
(Now bear in mind that this desk has been heaped with stacks of papers, folders, books,
etc for a year)
Did he say "hey! that looks great" ? Nope. He stood back and said "but
you have too many....things on the desk."
What do I have?
1 - a hole punch
2 - a tape dispenser
3 - a little glass cup of paper clips
4 - a pen/pencil holder
5 - a stapler
6 - a rolodex
He wants me to go out and buy something "nice" to consolodate all of these
things and gave me a talk about a person who had come in and told him the office had nice
"And then you hired me," I said. He just looked sheepish.
I don't know if I can achieve one with my environment, but I guess it's time to go
shopping and hope that whatever I end up with will pass muster.
It sure is depressing when you work for two days, achieve a monumental organization
only to have someone ignore the work you did and only tell you that you forgot a
couple of things.