||[Jan. 3rd, 2008|10:22 am]
I had a cold. It went away. Then it came back again. In the brief interval when I didn't have a cold I got all fired up and did some housework. "There you are," said Ailz. " You stirred up all that dust and now you've given yourself rhinitis."|
Can I use this as an excuse for never picking up a duster again?
No- because there are little pills to treat the condition. I've just popped one. And actually I'm quite a fastidious person. I don't mind dust and think piles of books and papers enhance a room- but I don't like it when things become sordid and start to smell.
A house is an expression of the self, a second body, a vehicle for personality- which is why novelists think it worth describing the rooms in which their characters live. A tidy room shows a tidy mind. Francis Bacon, the painter of screaming popes and decaying flesh and men humping one another on rumpled beds, lived in an absolute pigsty- as you can see from pictures of his studio. Well of course he did.
Ailz sometimes mutters darkly about hiring someone to come in and clean. I react with panic. I don't want a stranger handling my things. Everything is just where it ought to be until I choose to rearrange it. Bleaagh, get your mucky hands off!
Ailz, I should hasten to point out, is no tidier than I am. She may in fact be worse. And most of the time she's quite happy to live in bohemian disorder. It's just that every so often she gets these cravings for the house beautiful- which I dismiss as an atavism.
We keep one room all neat and tidy for receiving guests. It's very nice. And- guess what- we hardly ever use it. I took a book in there yesterday and sat for fifteen minutes or so in a comfy chair- then got up and left. I missed my clutter. The prettiness made me feel uneasy.
The room we mainly live in looks like this.
It's home. And as long as there's still a space where I can safely balance my teacup I don't see any need to change it.
My clutter level is about the same as yours. It consists mostly of papers and books and mail, which seem to multiply in my absence. There's also dust and cat-hair, which gets vacuumed.
I have lots of little nic-nacs, too- collected from places I've been. And lots of fiddly little things. Those little things threaten to overtake me, and I have to regularly go around with a shoebox and clean them away lest I get buried in them. They're the Perfectly Good little things that tend to hop into pockets, totes, handbags, and things and come home with me.
I do keep my home at a certain level of order, though. You will never find food or food containers anyplace else but the kitchen or dining room. Same with drinks. Clothing is restricted to the bedroom, as are shoes. I don't like to see clothing or dishes out of place. The floor is kept clean, too- while I have my magazine bins lined up in the living room, the only things permitted on the floor are cat toys. If I toss something on the floor, it's a signal for me to clean it up, so when I sort through paper, I'll create a floor-pile, because I must dispose of it.
The dining room table is the main battleground between pristine emptiness and the paper piles. The paper usually wins. My Dream Home will have a second large table besides the dining room table to spread papers on. It'll be in the office/library.
We have rabbit hair to contend with- only less than we used to now that the rabbits have decided to move upstairs- where they have a bedroom all to themselves- full of straw and cardboard boxes and other stuff that delights them.
(And yes, it really was their decision. We were quite happy having them downstairs with us, but they up and left us and colonised the spare bedroom and we thought, "well, why not?")
I remember you writing about the perfectly good little things. I have lots of those too. I find it very difficult to get rid of them. "This will come in useful one of these days," I tell myself. Only it never does.