I have been known to go weeks, not days, without washing dishes. I have had cats for most of my adult life who, I believe, think they are supermodels, and throw up their food soon after eating it. I have left that on the floor. I have gone months without vacuuming or washing the floors. I have left more hair in the sink and tub than most people have on their heads. I have subscribed to the “if it’s yellow leave it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” theory of toiletry and accidentally reversed the terms. And with all of this, I have somehow maintained a dream of motherhood.
I had an idea I wasn’t the neatest person I knew. I’m not delusional. The first question I asked my ex upon meeting him (before his name, astrological sign or if he came there often) was “how much of your salary would you be willing to give up to have a cleaning lady?” He said 25%. So we went on to live together in messy, messy bliss until the relationship became more messy than the apartment.
My mother, preferring to stay in a New York City hotel than in my apartment, once told me that my apartment could be grounds for condemnation of the building. My mom tends to exaggerate her hyperbole for the sake of an argument. Really. Where does she think this came from? I didn’t have any chores around the house until I was about 11 or 12, and they were instituted as a form of punishment for having stolen money from her purse. So, I believe even the least analytical of minds can see why I wouldn’t inflict this same punishment upon myself later in life.
The truth is that the state of my home tends to represent my state of mind at the time. Having been an undiagnosed depressive from my early teens through early twenties, it was simply a joke that the floor of my room was so covered with clothes that one would have to exert force to open the door. Because I had to go out and face the world and couldn’t do that without a shower, my dishes became my surrogate and sat there pathetically stewing in whatever was left on them. I think it is also possible that I admired the cats’ gag reflex (They’re so thin!).
On the other hand, when things are going well, e.g. falling in love or a big shiny new contract, I clean so hard that I break out toothbrushes for the corners. I clean out my closets and donate all the clothes that consistently wind up on the floor because they don’t fit or aren’t my style or are just plain ugly. After dusting, it’s like an archeological dig: oh, how interesting, I wonder what colour this used to be. And this will extend to anyone’s home I happen to be in at the time. Invite me over for dinner, I’ll do your laundry! Gnome, my current heartkeeper, was literally shocked to see me wash the dishes, then clean off all the prep and eating surfaces at his house. I had to explain to him that the fact that I don’t do something doesn’t mean that I can’t do it. I don’t beat him at arm wrestling. But I could.
Whatever the reason, cause or excuse for my messiness, one thing remains true: I need to get a better paying job, so kin I git me one of them fancy cleaning ladies before I start a family and have to send out a search party to locate my kids in the living room!