Monday, May 17, 2010

"...the Line Between the Past and the Present."

When it comes to my cluttered, filthy pigsty of an apartment, and the reason so few people have been allowed inside of it for longer than I care to admit, I've been repeating the same line to friends and family for months now...

"I watch 'Grey Gardens' and think,
'That house? That's nothing...'"

The person I'm talking to will laugh a little and then move on to another piece of conversation. I wonder, if they could actually SEE my apartment, would that line be funnier or infinitely sadder?

Or worse yet, would it be a cause for concern? Probably all of the above.

I have dedicated entire days and weekends to the act of getting rid of clutter, cleaning up my messes, organizing the insanity, and after a long stretch of hours, I stand back and it looks like only an inch and half of space is now clean and clear.

How could I have gathered so much unneeded junk that I, for some reason, have decided to hold on to by putting it in a place where I can never find it if I actually need it? And how could I care less about cleaning and making a bed and folding clothes than I have in the past when I never gave a damn before?!?

Maybe it's my way of keeping potential boyfriends at bay. I've heard women talk about not shaving their legs before a date so that they would not even be tempted to sleep with the guy at the end of the evening. Maybe my mess is my unconscious way of staying single. Not something I want, but something that seems to be continuing, nonetheless.

For the longest time, my apartment appeared to be in order, but if you opened up a certain drawer or closet door, you could see where the mess had been relocated for the time being. One of my friends referred to this as, "Outside control, inside chaos," which was and is the most accurate description of me I have ever heard.

So, what does it mean now that my chaos has overtaken my control?


Prospero said...

I am more and more convinced that we were somehow separated at birth...

Avenjer said...

It means you're human--messy but, human. I've been there too. Neat one year, messy the next. And sometimes things get out of control because life gets too busy and looking at the mess, it feels overwhelming to get it back into shape again. The trick is just do one task, start in one area, do one thing at a time. And it will come together. And ebay is your friend for anything you don't want anymore---you might as well make a little money from holding on to it all that time. And if all else fails then just call a sassy gay friend---"What are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Stop feeding that raccoon right now!" I'm just happy spring cleaning is the reason you've been away recently---I was begining to think you had hit your head again. :)

Stephen said...

All right, OK... I will fly to The Windy City & clean your apartment for you, while you are off doing God knows what with God knows who... but you will be pleased with my work.

Stephen Rader said...

Prospero - I'll be Big Edie to your Little Edie any day, sweet man. Nice to know I'm not alone in my possible appearance on HOARDERS. :)

Avenjer - I SO need my own Sassy Gay Friend to bitch slap some sense into me. (I better be careful asking for that. I know several people who would probably ENJOY bitch slapping me. And not the kind of slapping that I enjoy on alternate Saturdays, either!)

Stephen - You're very kind, but I will not have you morph into Hazel just for me!!! :)

Sean said...

It mean I will never come to visit, unless I am given approval to clean and organize without so much as a peep from you. Sorry, but you may well be my polar opposite in this respect. Organization above all else is my motto

Bunny said...

I'm the same way. I only seem to clear out the clutter when I move - have you thought about a new apartment?

just me said...

I really think we are related somehow. I keep telling myself, yes, you can throw away those old usb cords, or that old TV that doesn't work, but for some reason, I don't. My bedroom looks like a shit hole, but its comfortable to me. When people come to visit, I feel like Queen Elizabeth I, inviting them into my privy chamber. HA!

Keep the mess, its part of who you are and how you express yourself. That's what I think it is, self-expression, and a desire to hold onto the tangible things in our lives.

Your such a good writer, Stephen! You really are!