Now more than ten years later, my way of organizing my life is through compulsive list making. To-do lists, not-to-do lists, don’t-forget-lists, grocery lists. I make outlines. I add to my bucket list when struck by inspiration. I make wish lists and lists of movies I’ve been meaning to watch as well as books I’ve been meaning to read.
I finally got around to reading Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book. Incidentally, she was also a list maker who used headings such as “Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster” and “Hateful Things.” My favorite quote from The Pillow Book involves Shonagon recounting a breathtaking scene of morning dew on a spider’s web. She writes, “I later described the scene to my friends. What impressed me most was that they were not at all impressed.”
That was an excerpt from my application essay for UChicago in response to the prompt “What does Play-Doh have to do with Plato?” It becomes relevant eventually. With an eventful two weeks ahead of me I decided to glean all that afflicts me.
Things That Make One Nervous
- when someone you’re expecting is late
- people who stare
- people who wink creepily at you
- people who look like they’re judging you
- owing money
- heavy footsteps
- senior projects
- college decisions
- fragile objects, like Grandpa’s hands or shelves of glassware
- when the right words threaten to jumble up into the wrong ones