house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Eater of Time

It's eight eleven. I'm bouncing around the living room with bleary determination – the monumental mess, so early in the morning, offends the eye and clogs up the mind. Besides, Kira's left boot is missing and so is a growing number of my stuff like my favourite blue pencil and a mitten.

I must put the day on hold and sort it out. As I run about folding blankets and pijamas (still warm, fluffed with sleep and unfinished dreams, mmmh-so-tempting) – a thought buzzes and flaps through my mind. You know, like an annoying fluorescent banner on a historic building, asking the world at large: "why does Monica find housework so boring?"

SO boring that in my kindest moments I would call it “daily drudge” and avoid it like a virulent eczema attack.

Why, moreover, does this oversized house fill with dust in less time than it takes to brush it, and quicker if a mild breeze happens to blow downtown or really, anywhere in Galicia?

Why does the bathroom floor require mopping every time I walk in?

How exactly does the ash from last night's fire transport itself out of the fireplace and all over the floor and furniture?

Why do my husband and children (all-right-me-too, but only very occasionally) leave clothes littered everywhere?

And how does a drawer or a shelf progress from a very promising start (i.e. empty) to an invasion of such diverse and abundant items that even looking for an essential object (potato peeler, hair brush, passport) becomes a heroic task?

I can keep going. Scores of such questions cross my mind as I sweep ash and odd socks across the living room floor. I ponder on how I start each day with ideas and hopes and things to do only to be derailed by dust and grey bidets, washing up, laundry, endless cooking. Housework, like locusts, consumes the day.

All right, let's say I give in. I embrace it, even: I am a housewife and that's what I love to do. Nothing gives me more joy than the smell of fresh laundry. A gleaming cooker makes my heart sing. Tidy shelves, ironed clothes, bubbling broth in the pot – mmmh-huh, that's what I live for.

Let's say. But it still doesn't sort out the boredom issue. The question remains: what to do with one's mind while the hand brushes and washes and stirs and sorts? I am asking this with growing urgency, as I am fast approaching the end of the stories I had stored on my Ipod, and the library here doesn't do books on tapes. Nope, not even in Portuguese.

I could fuel my writing (like this blog, the product of my energetic pre-breakfast blitz in the living room). I could give myself pep-talks, or pray. Meditation? Mind exercises? Most likely, worrying and blowing things that are now history way out of proportion. Memory practice? Would probably result in remembering what I had forgotten, when it was too late. I could learn songs and sing them. Perhaps not. Practice Portuguese? Explore a new-found rhetoric talent?

One thing is sure: I shall never, NEVER (and I am NOT speaking in jest) run out of opportunity to practice any or all the above, and more. Housework being, of course, the world's most inexhaustible, re-re-renewable, ever-hungrier Eater of Time.


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