Friday, April 29, 2011

I should probably get that bag of recycling from 2009 out of my trunk.

Sometimes I get lazy.

This actually happens quite a lot, but it's rarely too terribly visible to the outside world. If I get lazy about, say, shaving my armpits, it's no biggie. Only one person is ever really close enough to them to even notice, and he doesn't seem to care. Every now and then I'll realize that I'm getting a bit shaggy about the pits at an inconvenient time, like while putting my hair up at the gym or while chaperoning a dance in a sleeveless dress, but I can easily mitigate that by just keeping my damn arms down.

Often, I get lazy about correcting student work or planning lessons in advance, but the only person who really suffers for that is me, since I need to do everything eventually anyhow. My seventh graders usually couldn't care less what grade they got on one paragraph one time, which shows me that I have them very well trained to focus on learning rather than grades. (This is a strategy that is both pedagogically sound and a glorious accommodation for my frequent lapse in professionalism.) Regardless, I have the roughly twice a month day from hell in which I have to edit and grade sixty-one papers, plan for the next day, and inevitably juggle a pile of other professional minutiae while magically working in dinner, sleep, and bathroom trips. Funsies.

I know that with another human being literally depending on me for his or her very existence to successfully continue (that'd be you, Batman), I will need to mend - or at least modify - my slothful ways. Don't get me wrong: shit gets done. I cook food, bills get paid, errands get run, cat boxes get scooped (often enough), exercise gets done, and I sometimes even have time to do my toenails and gussy up my hair before I leave the house. Still, I know I need to streamline a bit.

I used to hate, hate, hate to clean my room. Even now, our bedroom is...questionable...most of the time, but when I was living with my parents, it was a horrific pit. Indiana Jones would literally crap his chinos with fear at the prospect of spelunking in the landslides of junk that occupied my room. Watching the show "Hoarders" now, I wonder how my parents didn't force me to seek psychiatric help. I didn't NEED all that stuff, and I honestly didn't even want it there. There were times when I was so repulsed by my living space that I read myself to sleep under the blankets with a flashlight just so I didn't need to see it while dozing off.

Really...I was just lazy. I couldn't be bothered to clean, no matter how often my parents threatened to ground me or revoke sleepover privileges, so eventually they got so fed up that they hired someone to do it for me. Before you start thinking "hmm, I'll bet she just went out back to the stables and rode her gold-plated pony all afternoon while eating teriyaki peacock skewers," let me remind you that my parents were solidly lower middle class for most of my childhood. HIRING someone to do something only happened if none of us could do it, like installing new carpeting or cleaning the chimney. This was an utterly unprecedented occurrence, and what did I do with my beautifully organized new space? Turn it back into a shithole within six months. Yup.

The moral of this story (aside from "don't bother to hire someone to clean your kid's room, just lock them in there until it's done") is that until you decide to make a positive change for yourself, anything anyone does to "fix" or "improve" the problem is just a temporary fix. Once I decided (in college) to be responsible for my living space, it got infinitely better. Now I deep clean at least three or four times a year, with roughly bi-weekly regular-strength cleanings, and it NEVER gets so cluttered that it is really embarrassing. Why? Because I want to. I actually kind of like cleaning now, and I will ride you like the pony I never got if your room ever gets half as messy as mine was.

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