Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


In Which I Try to Tidy Up

Our bedroom gets, from time to time, a little bit messy. Unless you're one of those annoying fucking people who takes time every day to tidy up before beddy-bye, all of us have this issue sometimes. You know, you don't throw your laundry in the hamper one night and then the next night you think, "Why bother?" and then it just sort of snowballs until you're stepping over a week-old pizza to get to your nightstand.

Ours wasn't quite to the week-old pizza stage, but it was looking sloppy enough for my wife to look around last night, give a soul-deep sigh and say, "The bedroom is really, really messy."

Now, seeing as how I'm still off for the summer, I know there will be people who will ask, "But Joe... Why are you not keeping up on housework?" To which I reply, "Go fuck yourself, you presumptuous prick!" Then I calm down a bit and explain it a little more clearly.

I do clean. I try to keep up with the dishes on a more or less daily basis. I vacuum from time to time. My wife is the sort to reach the limit of her tolerance for untidiness at 10:00 at night and start massively cleaning the living room. This after a full day of work and a commute that would leave a Viking comatose. So, between her work schedule and my preoccupation with other things--those comic book message boards aren't going to read themselves, people--we sometimes fall a bit behind.

And so, this morning, after I got back from the laundromat, I thought, "Hey! It'd be nice if I took care of this mess!" Which, on the surface, seems like a simple enough task. But it's not. No, sir, not at all.

See, we live in New York. This means that, even in an apartment that is by most Manhattan standards fairly spacious, we don't have a whole lot of room. Every inch of closet space we have is jammed with our belongings. We've actually considered hoisting our bed up on stilts so that we could squeeze a few more cubic feet of storage space underneath. So when you're trying to tidy up the room by putting things away, there's not always an "away" where you can put things.

And then there's the things that we need to get rid of, but can't. Like our old computer. We don't need it. We don't want it. But we haven't taken the time to remove all of our data from it, so just tossing it onto the street could lead to problems down the road. Sitting on top of that is a paper folder that was loaned to me by the stage manager of the last show I directed. I don't need that here. It doesn't even fold paper into theater-program-shapes, so it wasn't right for the task in the first place. Now, it's doubly not wanted. I've e-mailed her about when I could maybe get it to her, but I haven't heard back. Can I just pitch it? What if she then phones me and says, "Hey, I need to pick up my $3000 paper folder from you." That could be awkward. We've got a number of things in this category sitting around the bedroom, and there doesn't ever seem to be much we can do with them except move them to another spot.

My biggest problem by far, though, is my wife's clothes. My wife has a lot of clothes. It comes with that whole ovary thing. She's got enough clothes that there isn't a spare micrometer in her closet and we need to use a team of mules to get her dresser drawers closed. So, as we've been busy with one thing or another, she's had laundry that was done a couple of weeks ago sitting on the top of her dresser.

Which doesn't, I suppose, seem like that daunting a problem. You open a drawer, jam stuff in, end of story. But, no. See, my wife's clothes-sorting system is a foreign language to me. Mine's pretty straight-forward, I think. Socks here, boxers here. A drawer for t-shirts, a drawer for things I'm not wearing because it's not the right season and everything else in the closet. My wife, though, seems to have some t-shirts in one place and others, for reasons not evident to me, someplace else. In her closet, skirts are mixed in with jackets and pants hang side by side with blouses. And I'm just too fucking stupid to crack the code. I was completely unable to put anything in her dresser. There wasn't room in there for the tiniest sock, much less for the hundreds of thousands of t-shirts for which I needed to find a home.

And then, because I'm a guy, the thought crosses my mind that she's just got too many clothes. I know she doesn't wear a lot of this stuff. Maybe I should just go through and get rid of some stuff. Thin out the herd. Then everything fits, problem solved.

I quickly checked that impulse. I just sort of thought about my testicles and how much I'd miss them if they were, say, torn from my body and tossed out the window. So, when my wife comes home, she's not going to find perfection. She's going to find a neater room than she left this morning, marred by a stack of things I was not clever enough to take care of. And that's about as good as I'm capable of.

NO. NO. NO. Having a lot of clothes does NOT "come with the whole ovary thing." Why can people not STOP making this fucking boring, annoying, totally sexist generalization?!

My husband (and BTW, we're ex-New Yorkers, so I totally grok what you're talking about with the cleaning up the apartment thing, and it's pretty funny) is Mr. Clothes Horse, loves shopping, collects button-down shirts in all colors of the rainbow and some not seen in nature, and he's got testicles, not ovaries.

Me? I've got the ovaries (well, one, anyway) and I have 3 current T-shirts, 4 skirts, a pair or two of jeans, and some shoes of some sort. I can pack for a trip in about 12 minutes, basically all in a carry-on, and be out the door. Hubby needs an 88 pound suitcase with a mysterious system of complicated fold-away suit hangers and little zippy puches for argyle socks, ties he bought in Oxford, and his special Issy Miyake "smelly good" potion.

Oh - and did I mention? He's got balls. Nice big hairy ones.

I know. Generalizations are funny. They help us make obvious jokes, that a lot of people will get. But they're annoying, and lazy, and not accurate. And I love your blog, so I got pissy. Sorry!
Ow! My spleen!

Redrabbit, I'm very sorry. I fully realize that many men are utter clothesaholics and that many woman own nothing more than a pair of overalls and three socks. I was generalizing and...and I hate myself for it, a little.
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