Last week I received a less than subtle rebuke regarding my slovenly ways, make that alleged slovenly ways. Momentarily taken back by the frightful experience of retrieving a cold drink from my refrigerator, my friend Tyson felt compelled to share his thoughts on the condition of it. (Good thing he didn’t open up the produce bin or I would have had to administer CPR.)
If the broken chair isn’t telling enough, perhaps a Christmas Tree stand on the porch in May is.
I have to admit while my face feigned interest , the sensory network between my ears and brain was blocked (a natural reflex any time I hear, “You need to clean.”) I did pick out a couple lines, “Blah, blah, blah Tom…Tom, blah, blah, fridge.” His shock-and-awe moment of disbelief was countered with my eye-rolling, simmer-down approach of non-urgency. I offered, “If the bottle is chilled, I don’t see a problem.”
To me, Lived-in is a interior style just as real as Mid-Century Modern or French Provincial . Let’s face it, one’s man’s mess is another man’s cozy. And may I point out in my defense, dirty dishes stacked in the sink show my concern for water conservation, and clothes draped over furniture protect my fine furnishings from dog hair, dust and the fading effects of sunlight. Besides, the trouble with vacuuming is it never gets resolved. You have to do it over and over again; that just seems wrong to me and surely unsustainable in my world.
With tidy on trial at my house, we discussed, sparred and finally put the issue to rest (or so I thought). My Tom Sawyer tactic of suggesting he show me how to clean a house from top to bottom was most ineffective if not laughable, so I tried reverse psychology, “Tyson, I wouldn’t allow you to clean my house even if you begged me.” (Drat, that didn’t work either. Neatniks are a wily lot.)
A week or so later, I met friends for dinner off-island. Tyson, the icebox inspector, was last to arrive. Before sitting down, he handed me a snappy looking and heavy tote, a gift bag of untold goodies no doubt, a peace offering, an apology for the cleaning critiques of his last visit. Unzipping the top flap, I looked in and could see the joke was on me. I began to chuckle realizing the last laugh would not be mine. Out of the tote, I pulled an arsenal of cleaning products, from scouring sponges to Pine Sol to Windex.
Everyone else also laughed, laughed a bit too hard in fact. I asked, “Seriously, you guys think my house needs cleaning?”
Now the co-conspirators were tight-lipped, and their silence seemed particularly articulate.
“Okay, I give, so tell me, what are these Scrubbing Bubbles of which you speak?