The hazards of grown-up neatness
On Wednesday, I sprained 2 toes badly. Very badly – I initially thought I’d dislocated my little toe. Several days later, I am still limping.
When I explained to concerned friends and co-workers how I had suddenly become crippled overnight, that I had whacked my foot brutally against the radiator as I was rushing to make my bed in the morning, the overwhelmingly frequent reaction was not “Oh no, poor you!” but a puzzled “Huh? Why‘d you bother making your bed in the morning?!”
In a spirit of holiday honesty, I should clarify that I am not a neat person. My place usually looks as though a tornado hit it. My standards are summed by the simple “no bugs, no mold” motto. So I take a bit of pride in the few neat habits I have kept from my mother’s excellent but unfruitful parenting:
- Dishes (falls under the “no bugs” part of my motto)
- Bed making (my bedroom is the only area of my life that I keep de-cluttered and stress-free, with minimal effort, to relax in when I wake up and go to sleep)
- Folded, organized clothes (a recent addition, as I found hunting to find a specific top in the morning robbed me of too many precious minutes of sleep)
- Clean mirrors (I tried finding a valid excuse for this one, but really, I’m just vain).
Imagine the pivot in my worldview as I realized that out of these 4 habits, one was generally considered to be superfluous.
Silver lining – an entertaining taxi ride
Having cried for 15 minutes on my troublesome bed, clutching my maimed foot, I was late for work. I opted to take a taxi instead of the bus to get to the nearby metro station.
The taxi driver shut off the radio as it began covering a local fundraising event, since “You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about it.” Sheepishly, I told him I had no idea about it. “You just like my wife, she don’t listen to no news, ever. Man, I don’t get these people who don’t listen to the news.” I attempted to smooth his ruffled feathers, explaining that I read the news, I just don’t listen to the radio. He seemed to accept my presence in his cab a bit more:
Ok ok, reading the news, that ain’t that bad. I’m telling you, some people, they don’t listen to no news, ever! I just don’t get it: this is your planet, you should know what is happening. My wife, she don’t listen to the news, she says it makes her depressed. I tell her, yes, its bad news, but you gotta know what is going on. What happens if they need to evacuate the city? I told her, if she don’t listen to the news, she won’t know they evacuating, and what’s she gonna do then? I won’t be saving her, no way, I got my taxi, I’m outta there!
That made me chuckle. Encouraged, he elaborated on some recent events. The highlight of my trip:
Some of that stuff is scary. Like those people in Iran, ISIL or ISIS or whatever. I don’t mind religious people, I think they all kinda crazy. But these people are different. They are weird, man. How can they do that stuff! Crazy! And filming it too! Cutting off heads, that’s hard work. Even cutting off a chicken’s head or a goat, that takes effort, but a person? Man, I have trouble cutting a tomato, how can they cut off a person’s head?
I never thought a synopsis of ISIS’s propaganda would make me smile.
Somehow, we ended on the topic of Christmas:
I just love Christmas, my kids do too. I don’t believe or anything, don’t go to church. But I just love how Christmas makes everybody so happy, so kind, it’s like magic. My son always gets excited when its Christmas, he says Papa, its that nice time of the year again. And I tells him, Son, you be sure to always be nice, all year round. But he’s right: Christmas is the one time of the year where the world is just perfect.
Thank you, taxi man, for bringing a smile to my face and helping me forget my throbbing foot. I sure hope your son listens to his Papa.