Monday, August 10, 2009

If I attach balloons will it all float away

While I type this, far away in Trafalgar Square a man is building a contraption on the One and Other plinth. It seems to be made of balloons and foils pans, and sticks and aluminum tripods. I have no clue what it will do and it both looks like a mess and fascinating.

My house and my life are a lot like this. Like those illusory pictures where you see two faces, but if you sort of let your eyes cross then you see a goblet, or a rabbit or something instead, my house is a wreck when you first look at it and when you unfocus your eyes, what you see, or at least what I see is my mind trying to deal with chaos.

I don't this mess. I want a well-organized, neat home that people can come over to any time. But I'm kidding myself if I think I can get anywhere near my idealized home. In all the years since I escaped my mother's tidy, neat home of stuffed but well-organized storage areas, I have asserted my independence by living in a pile of clutter and dirty dishes.

Each day, I make a tiny bit of headway in a particular area. Then, either my smart but clutter-y son or my smart, but compulsive husband fills that area with their stuff and it's like drifts of snow that I can never shovel.

The problem is I have the psyche of a neatnik and the energy and drive of a slob. I see the mess and my chest is gripped with cold panic then I distract myself with HI-larious TV or a book or a magazine or Twitter or lint. Either I have a short attention span or that is my coping mechanism for not being able to follow through with the burst of energy it would take to CLEAN IT ALL UP! And therein lies my other problem - breaking the task down. I do to some extent, but then I multitask myself into little progress or so many stops and starts of work that I peter out to a forgotten craft project instead of making my house livable.

And really, it's worse inside my head. Every scrap of paper, unshelved book, toy without a home, dirty dish or lone sock as an analog in my brain. Each clutter thought falling upon the others, looking to find a permanent home, a reason to be or a way to extinguish itself.

Oh look, here's another e-mail newsletter on organizing. Maybe my salvation lies there.

1 comment:

  1. You are, of course, lucky to have said child and said husband, even if they are messy. :)