The Mess

I’ve been bitten by a wayward spring-cleaning bug today, and my arms are still aching after my rampage through months-old dust and clutter in my mother’s cottage.

You might want to grab a chair and a mug of brew if you’re going to read this. Go on, make yourself comfortable. I feel like a long-winded story today.

So, there I was, bored nearly out of my wits. It’s been more than a month since my last experience of routine, and I guess I was having withdrawal symptoms. This freedom thing suddenly seemed so cold and lonely… Visions of Bundy clocks and high heels and well-pressed clothes and daily schedules that begin and end predictably danced before my eyes. I was desperate to go back to the corporate world… Luckily, the portion of my brain that does my sanity check kicked in just then. Whew. I almost went over the edge there.

I shook my head to clear thoughts of how comfortable my old job was. I guess it was, after a fashion.

So, in order to divert myself from starting to think that, maybe, all people in the old shoe factory were not really mean but just as confused as I was, I went to my mother’s cottage planning to practice a bit of meditation. My mother stayed over for Christmas, so it would be almost three months since another human being breathed in the little hut.

The first thing I noticed inside was the dust. It was probably a couple of inches thick on the floor and about a quarter of an inch on the window sills. It was like strolling on the beach, seeing my footprints embedded in the dust. The spiders had created a metropolis of woven silk on the ceiling, and the geckos converted the bed into their communal toilet. Books and picture frames lay helter skelter on the tables, and someone (I guess it was me) dumped the tinsels and other decor from the Christmas tree on the couch. There were loose pages of manuscripts, scraps of cloth, mice doo doo and broken tools on the study table. The cottage resembled a packrat’s paradise, and it had only been last December when it was all spic and span for my mother’s holiday stay.

That was when the bug bit me.

I took a broom and a rag from the kitchen and proceeded to make things shipshape.

I moved the set of anklung (Ma had the entire cumbersome thing, 24 pieces in all, shipped from Indonesia; she planned to teach the mountain folks to play and reproduce the music of Mozart using the bamboo instruments) from the middle of the room to one side, right by the door. I uncovered several issues of in-flight magazines and stowed them with their kin in the book shelf. There were fragments of broken ceramics, essential oil diffusers, and figurines; these had been souvenirs from previous trips, and finding them broken, I dumped them in a trash bag along with scraps of old receipts, dusty fast food brochures, expired load cards, faded airplane boarding passes, vitamin foil packs, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, energy drink bottles, potato chip wrappers, candy boxes, and a colony of dustbunnies.

I relearned that we have a wooden steamer trunk (like those that vampires use as temporary coffins when they travel across oceans); the trunk was a legacy of my father, and no, his body is not housed inside it. I discovered that I had worn out several pairs of shoes (9) while I worked in the factory (and not a single pair went well with the clothes I wore to work). Someone (me, I guess) dumped them under Ma’s bed where they gathered dust and plotted their revenge against me. When I took them out, they spewed dust at my face that sent me to a sneezing fit.

Oh well, I better own up now that I was responsible for turning my mother’s cottage into a dump. When I took the stuff I amassed from the boarding house last January, there was no space in my cottage for the things so I “stored” them in Ma’s empty cottage. I have rediscovered, without the aid of meditation, that I am a slob. And my cheeks are burning from sheer embarrassment.

To atone for my transgressions, I worked up a storm to make the cottage fit for Snow White and her seven dwarves. By noon, I was done. Am pleased with my work.

The exertion helped me burn 3001 calories.


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