What do you do when someone rearranges your stuff that you get lost finding things? Even though you placed them in your own personally disorganized fashion, you possessed a mental map where to get what and where.

When I was old enough to have a say in the family, this was the first thing I requested (demanded mildly) to be respected by everyone. Outside my room’s door were the words, “Do not touch!” in red letters.

But as you well know, mothers are often rulers of organized living in a home. (Almost) nothing escapes their sense of cleanliness inside their domains.

One day I discovered to my dismay that my sign post was not only taken out from its position, my room was cleaned! My eyes could not believe the sight of tidiness that I nearly screamed. I wanted to know who did such a dandy crime against my perfectly unkempt teenager’s space.

I knew I could not fight fire with fire, especially if my flicker was no match to her flames. (You know what I mean.)

So, I did the next best thing: use question marks with every phrase I said.

“Where are my books about (such and such)?”

(puzzled look)

“Where are my tapes?”

(shaking head)

“Where is my favorite pen?”

(scratching head)

“Will you clean my room again?”

My mother laughed, resigned that I won the battle of wits.

“Never,” she remarked, handing me back my sign post.

From then on no one touched my stuff without my permission. 😀



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