It's amazing how many rituals I have.
When I get home, the car keys go on top of the family room hutch and my shoes go beneath. The backpack with my camera gear fits perfectly on the left side where there's a small space between the furniture and heating vent.
I say hello to whoever is downstairs. I then take a seat on the couch for a few minutes, check my iPhone, and head upstairs to freshen up.
It's like clockwork. And I have a similar sequence for departing.
No one else in the house behaves this way. Generally speaking, items are shed in random locations as each member arrives. Car keys may be tossed on the dining table, floor, couch, rocking chair, ottoman, or inside a backpack or purse. Items then must be relocated and retrieved before departure.
In an already messy world, that approach just wouldn't work for me.
For the most part, I know where all my stuff is at any given moment. My backpack represents my utopia. Each lens has its home and is never misplaced. The laptop slides into a dedicated compartment, spare batteries go in a specific pocket, and the iPad is quickly accessible from the top.
My question is: "Did I develop this obsession because I'm a photographer, or the other way around?"
Few things are more unsettling than having a great photo opp appear before me, and my not being able to find the right lens to capture it. A misplaced battery to replace one that just died can drive me nuts in the middle of a shoot. So, there are practical reasons for my organization.
But there's an emotional component too. Life is messy.
There are so many thing of which I have no control. Most things in fact. And as far as I can see, there's no formula for success. In fact, survival is a crap shoot.
My camera bag is the one thing that I have complete control over. Its contents were selected because of their practical value and aesthetic nature. There's no surplus, no waste, no inefficiency. And most importantly, there's no room for cruelty, ignorance, and greed.
When life just doesn't make any sense - which is a daily occurrence - I can open my camera bag and marvel at its logic.
After a few minutes, I take a deep breath, zip it closed, and head back into that messy world.