Sunday, September 28, 2014
When I was a kid, my mother sent me to a series of psychologists because I couldn't keep my room clean. For years, I thought it was because I was fond of starting small fires in our backyard, and stabbing kids in my schools with pens (just every now and then, mind you). But no. My sister Maxine, in my adulthood, confirmed to me that the trait of mine that most vexed my mother was my untidiness. She would often send me to my room to clean it, and I remember making a real production out of it, with cobbled-together pulleys that I would transport soiled clothing with, as though I was afraid to touch my own detritus. Assembly line procedures from a boy with a strange fondness for repetitive tasks. Today, when I clean my room, I'm all over the place, using a strange philosophy gleaned from my abortive experiences with 12 step programs. Just clean the next right thing, I tell myself, and as a result, I wash that one dish, I put away that one pair of socks, I wash that next dish, I scoop that one kitty litter thing, I put away that blouse, that top, that simple shell, etc. It's very OCD, and my apartment gets clean very gradually. No one area is completely clean ever, I don't think. It's just on the way there. I wonder sometimes: do I like the disarray? What in it speaks to me???
Once a fellow came over to sample my wares, and as I let him in, he looked around at my messy apartment and said "no," and left. I remember being affected very deeply by this, very ashamed. Today, there is very little that the fellows could do that would affect me deeply, or cause me to think much of anything about it, although I must admit that often when my apartment is going through a dirty phase, I am alarmingly celibate thanks to a certain faint voice somewhere deep inside of me that I suppose you could call shame if you want. I wish the fellows would get apartments of their own that I could visit for our loveless couplings, but in Manhattan, I am apparently the only gay who lives alone.
When I was unemployable in the early aughts, I used to wake up (or, more aptly, come to) at 10 am or so and watch Martha Stewart's show with a strange, delicious horror. Everything was in place with her, as they say, as it never was with me. I watched her show, I went for a brutal, punishing run, I went to the Food Bar for a meat lasagna, and then it was off to the races, as it were. EVERY DAY for, like, two YEARS. Repetitive tasks, repetitive tasks...
For a while in recent years, I employed a cleaning lady with an alarming lack of boundaries, and my room was as clean as it could possibly have been with Gregory living in it. My untidiness, however, extends into my finances, and now I clean my room solo, pining for Olga, pining to be able to afford a put-together look. I often say that my room at times looks like a homeless person lives there. But on some nights, like tonight, when I've been cleaning up a quiet storm, it goes one notch up and looks like a college student lives there.