Friday, December 28, 2012

"Lived In"

I’ve often observed…and my friends will readily verify…that I am not a slave to the gods of domesticity. Unlike one of my college roommates, who ironed his shorts, arranged his sock drawer by color, and was diligent to keep a sharp point on all 12 of his neatly aligned #2 lead pencils—I slipped a #4 in there one time and he had a fit (I don’t think it necessary to point out that we weren’t roommates for long)—I have a very casual attitude about most things which admittedly might somehow benefit by being kept in order or placed somewhere they could be found five minutes after putting them down.

I firmly believe Quentin Crisp’s observation that “dust doesn’t get any thicker after three years,” and can’t see much point in constantly vacuuming and dusting when things will only get dusty again by the next day. I started to read an article in the New Yorker four or five weeks ago, and take comfort in knowing that when I find the time to finish it, it’s right there on the arm of the chair where I left it.

I wash dishes regularly, dictated more by the fact that I have broken all but three of my drinking glasses and don’t like drinking milk out of a cup than by the joys of splashing around in a sink full of soapy bubbles. And when I do wash dishes, it is much easier just to leave them in the plastic drainer than to go to the trouble of putting them in the cupboard where I’d just have to turn around and take them out again.

Finding it increasingly difficult to close my refrigerator door, I did devote ten or fifteen minutes the other day to starting to clean it out. I got about two shelves done before wondering if I might have any new e-mail and wandered off, but in that time discovered enough mold in the 20 or so plastic containers I use to store leftovers to start a penicillin factory. (I’m really very good with leftovers. With food as with just about everything else, I hate to throw anything away, even knowing full well that as I put a new container of leftovers in the refrigerator, I do not kid myself into believing that I’m ever actually going to eat the stuff. But I can’t throw it away, just in case I might.)

I make my bed once a week (laundry day), or on those very rare occasions when I am expecting a visitor. I really can’t see any point to taking the time to tuck and smooth and plump the pillows and carefully fold down the top of the sheet over the top of the blanket. Hey, this isn’t the Holiday Inn and I’m just going to get back into bed after 15 hours or so, so why bother?

I keep a laundry basket in my front closet, and I use it every Friday morning when I go to do the laundry. I just scoop all the clothes off the foot of my bed and off the chairs where I’d left them after taking them off, throw them into the basket, and I’m set to go.

However, my one homage to domesticity is that I do take the garbage out every single night, a habit born of necessity after living in an apartment building in which the cockroaches held conventions under my kitchen sink.

And I do pick up Kleenex and paper towels from the floor within an hour or so of their falling there, and at least three times a day I scoop the mounds of Kleenex from the top of my desk. (At least, I think there is a top to my desk…I seldom actually see it due to the bills, receipts, notes, letters, empty torn envelopes, etc. which magically appear with absolutely no action on my part.)

As a point of disclaimer, I should mention that the photo accompanying this blog is not of my actual apartment. The apartment in the photo is just a tad neater than mine.

But I do not consider myself a slob. I like to think of my apartment as I think of myself: “lived in.”

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (


Kage Alan said...

I like keeping things fairly tidy. It's a habit from when the hubby lived in Chicago for 5 years and, when I first visited, though his bathroom had carpet. It didn't. It was his clothes and that was just the beginning of the disaster that was his abode.

But one of the reasons I enjoy keeping things clean so much is that it's just so much fun getting them dirty again!

Dorien/Roger said...

Ah, you're a "Lemons into Lemonade" kind of guy, Kage!