A week off seemed like such a
long time a month ago, two weeks ago, last week, and now it’s Thursday, and I
feel like I have no time left to do anything. That’s not true, of course—there are three days to go before the last
holiday party of the holiday party season, and then there’s New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, and then we are done, but it still feels like it is going
so quickly, slip-sliding right between my fingers.
I had big plans for this
break: I was going to go through all my bills, and organize my desk and the
bookshelves next to the desk, where the overflow goes to languish. My closet…it’s a walk-in that you can’t really walk into, and something needs to be done
about that. Nobody needs to keep notebooks from five or ten years ago, with
mostly incomprehensible handwriting and arrows and scribbles and doodles. Most
of them, I have no idea where they’re from, or what is in them.
If I don’t have any idea what
it is, exactly, that I’m keeping, if I have no idea what I’m keeping, in fact,
is there any reason to keep it? Besides the fact that what if the reason I’m
keeping them suddenly rises up out of the dark, booga booga, exactly ten
minutes after I’ve incinerated it all?
In my closet, too, is the
detritus of my previous efforts at cleaning it—big old Tupperware boxes with
neatly folded extra blankets, wrapping materials, papers, things that are
properly systematized and ordered and filed away all neat-like, and then there
are the leftover big boxes, in which I dumped everything else and called it a
day, shoving it behind the clothes and pretending that stuffed in a box is the
new organized. I have to do something about that, which isn’t stuffing it in
And the dresser in there: a
drawer is broken, socks have holes, there are pants I have not put on my butt
since the Clinton administration, and it is begging to be straightened,
cleaned out, burned down and then salted. It needs help, my closet.
There are cabinets in my
kitchen that I haven’t opened since I’ve moved here, and I should probably open
them and find out what the hell is in there; there’s my Craft Dresser, which is
a dresser, as you might have guessed already, full of Craft Supplies, because I
am crafty like that. I never meant to be the kind of person who had a Craft
Dresser, and it’s a little embarrassing.
But that’s beside the point.
If I am going to have one of those things, it ought to be a neat and nicely
arranged kind of thing, where I can get in and get out swiftly, no one gets
hurt, or catches me hunting for felt or embroidery needles or oil paint. But
where there once were drawers grouped around a theme, with plastic boxes in
which tools were organized alphabetically, now there is disarray. And that’s
not very crafty of me at all. How will I make a proper cunningly snowman-shaped
toilet paper cozy, if I cannot locate my size H hook?
Under my bed lives the devil.
In my nightstand are nightmares. The bathroom cabinet? Bathroom chaos. Nobody
lives like this! I live like this. I live like this because for a good chunk of
the year, I look forward to the week I have off, that long and endless stretch
of time in which, on the first day, I will fly through the house with a garbage
bag and a will of steel and sweep all surfaces clean with one wide scoop of my
arm, and everything that remains will be vital and beautiful, and all my
furniture will turn spectacularly Danish modern, a single lily in a stainless
steel vase will sit in the clean center of my sleek titanium coffee table, the
cat will be laminated, the wind will blow my sheer white curtains as I stretch
out on the white vinyl couch for the remainder of the week and admire how my
apartment looks exactly like a spread in Metropolitan Home, only way sexier and
smelling less like lemon polish. They all look like they smell like Pledge.
I live nothing like this, and
somehow, I ended up in Utah for a week instead of in rubber gloves and an apron. I go home in a few days, and once there, I predict that I will—well, lie down a lot, and read from
this prone position, in my bed which is not Danish modern but which is extremely comfortable. I will finish, possibly still in a
prone position, all of the books I got for Christmas; I will briefly
consider heading out of doors to go clothes shopping, but veto that idea in
favor of Project Runway reruns and eating crackers in bed. I will take at least three baths, but
possibly more. All of them will have bubbles. I will make phone calls with a comforter over
my head, and send text messages from under a cat. My closet will creak, and
creak, and creak, and then explode and kill us all, and it will have been the
nicest week off ever.