sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 5, 2014

posted by soe 3:35 am

I’m messy. This comes as a surprise to no one who knows me. A friend’s tween once described our apartment in Middletown as “touching heaven,” filled with a broad array of stuff. Periodically I get fed up with the clutter and the swath of paper threatening to take me down and I go on a recycling/tidying binge, but mostly I’m okay with piles and have a good idea of where in the morass things are.

Except I sometimes like to pretend that I’m not messy. I admit that usually when company comes, large piles of stuff end up in our bedroom, and not just the things like the bathroom towel rack that needs to come off the door if you want it to close properly, which some people want it to do. I spend hours frantically cleaning and throwing things away and running around frazzled before company comes, trying to get a handle on the mess.

It’s never totally successful, but I’ve always assumed it mattered to my guests.

But I’ve realized, now that friends are busy with their lives and spread across the country, that I care way less about what my home looks like and how and with whom time in it is spent. My mother-in-law stopped letting people into her home 20 years ago because she was ashamed of how its cleanliness had gotten away from her as she’d aged. And I just think how sad that must be to want to see friends and to fear that they’d think less of you because of your stuff.

I deliberately asked an old friend and his family back to the Burrow this evening, even though it wasn’t clean for company and even though I knew I hadn’t emptied the cat boxes before leaving for work, but that I had folded our laundry, leaving piles of underwear in the living room to await our return. We’d been having a good time and I’d made excuses on his previous visits and we’ve known each other more than two decades now and he’s seen my college dorm rooms, for god’s sake, even if his family hadn’t.

So they came back and the world didn’t explode and we just moved the piles of laundry and cleared off chairs and entertained them with our cats. Maybe they cared about the mess. Maybe they didn’t. I refuse to consider the matter further. I’m just so glad to have spent time with them at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still going to clean the toilet and the bathroom sink and empty the cat boxes before you come over (as long as I know you’re coming ahead of time, anyway). And I expect parties will still send me into a tizzy for days before. But maybe I’ll just say, “The house is a mess, but I don’t care if you don’t. Come anyway if you like,” and mean it. Because I have faith that we are friends and that you also believe a home is made by the people in it.

Sharing with Amanda’s August prompts.

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 4 Comments.