Saturday, November 21, 2009


Jen and Mimi have gone on ahead to the Midwest, where I will meet them on Thanksgiving day to partake of the feast (and a feast it will no doubt be) in Madison, with my sister Deb and her family.

So I’m home alone for a couple of evenings and it sure is quiet around here with just me and the dog. There’s also not much to do, it seems, even though I have school projects and plenty of grading to tackle if I feel so moved—which, surprise!, on Saturday night, I do not.

So, mostly, I occupy myself by wandering around the house tidying things up. What this entails primarily is restacking stacks of things, putting books and dishes away, and even, from time to time, dusting off a countertop or bookshelf—nothing that would really count as cleaning; it’s more like organizing or reshuffling; mainly, though, I think it’s probably a little bit of OCD mixed in with anal retentiveness and control-freakism, shaken gently.

I’m one of those people who keeps his desk as clean and clutter-free as possible; my standard line when others remark on this is, “Well, I’ve got a messy mind, so I like a tidy office.” And that’s essentially true, I would say; I know, for instance, that when the papers and books pile up all over my work surface, it makes me sort of nervous. I start to feel like my external environment is getting too close to what’s going on inside me.

And that’s when it’s time to toss stuff in the trash and get out the cleaning spray.

I think part of my weirdness about this has to do how freaked out I was as a kid by some of the homes of people I came collecting at for my paper route.

One guy had newspapers and magazines piled ceiling high throughout his apartment; talk about a cluttered mind; I can’t even bear to think about it.


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