You know about my obsession for cleaning.
When I can’t make sense of my life, I fill my time by organizing clothes, books, racks, utensils, clocks, pens, paintings, pen drives, mugs – as if my life depends on it. I bury myself in labels and pretend that everything is under control.
I scold Mister first for not helping and then for getting in the way as he tries to help; I chide mom for hoarding spoons and audio cassettes and greeting cards.
I take delight in the way my booming voice bounces off the walls and the ceiling (and Mister’s ears) as I lay down the rules.
Underwear in this drawer, socks in the other. These mugs are for tea and these ones for coffee. Use these pens first. This slab is for rice and pulses, and this one for spices. And this cabinet is strictly for crockery. Put spoons here and forks on the other side. We don’t need two hundred spoons; twenty-four will do. Let’s give the rest away. Who listens to cassettes anyway?
And yet, as I speak, I know that no matter what I do, the chaos will return. I will find socks in the underwear drawer and spoons in the fork stand and the cassettes will find a way to sneak back into the cabinet.
I dread that day.
But the curious thing is, I also eagerly await that day, because it basically means that the cycle begins all over again. I can’t wait for chaos to consume everything – and then I must somehow scrub-rinse-fold-categorize to bring back the sanity. It makes me feel so alive.
When Mister announced that he was going to be away for three months, my first reaction was delight. My house will finally be clean for three months in a row!
But he has been gone for two weeks now, and the mess he made before he left is still there. I see his jeans hanging behind the door; the shoes he decided not to carry near the treadmill; the big black bag with his woolens lying on the floor; a heap of clothes on the chair we don’t need and he refuses to throw away.
I ought to have cleaned up by now but I can’t bring myself to actually doing it. If I do, it’ll be like he doesn’t live here anymore, and I’m not sure I can handle that.