Sunday, February 16, 2003

I am not a tidy person and, prior to meeting Sarah, housework had not been made a part of my nature by breeding or chore. My inclination is to leave things as they are, to surrender to the gradual bliss of entropy, to allow the accumulation of what Philip K. Dick called Kipple.

Sarah is my opposite in this regard. She is a natural born Feng Shui master, a bringer of order, a placer of objects in their proper places.

Over the years I have absorbed a portion of Sarah's tidy ways, it's true. In fact I have come to agree with Sarah when she tells me that cleanliness is next to godliness. Still, when she is away I tend to slip into old ways. . . unopened mail mounts daily higher, dirty dishes linger in the sink, and, on bad days, the bed remains unmade. With Sarah absent from our home I don't make the effort to keep things in order as much as I might.

I ought to, though. I have just spent the past two and a half hours or so scrubbing, sweeping, pushing a vaccuum and, with my other hand, juggling three loads of laundry. As I sit here typing there is a definite energy in the room that was not here yesterday. There is a sense of alingment that seems to have come into focus with the cleaning of the space.

Today's clean up was motivated by Sarah's return tomorrow but I'm glad I did it right now because I feel better having done it. For some time now I have tried to approach house work with a positive attitude, even when I would rather do something else. It is useful for me to view the task as a form of meditation, so that I might reap from the moments spent so engaged whatever value there is rather than squander the time in shoddy work and inattentiveness. No doubt my Buddhist leanings have influenced this turn of thought.

I wrote the following poems on this subject about ten years ago (I won't have a definite age until carbon dating results of the notebook originals have been returned from the lab):

Liberation Through Housework

The floor is a canvas
the broom a brush
and I, the consumate artist,
am sweeping up a masterpiece.


Cleaning the toilet
as it should be cleaned -
equal amounts of pride and care
added to the soap -
is a task of holy
and heroic proportions.
Scrub brush in hand
I stand
kissing the lips of God.

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