I do not know why being stuck in my house makes me think I should clean it?!! Why in the world has this concept become such a thing!?
“Now that I have this time at home it is time to Spring clean! I will organize this and throw away that!?” GAAH!
Yes, let’s give ourselves more things to fuel all the present anxiety boiling inside; we are pacing, nervous wrecks reminding our children to wash their hands and THUMBS, stay away from humankind but still walk the dog, make their beds and ‘You have a Zoom meeting with your math teacher in 15 minutes!’ while at the same time we are shaming and reminding ourselves that our closets are filthy and over full and our desks need to be de-cluttered STAT!
I am not sure about you but the drawer under my bed frame that I have not opened in, um, a long time, whispers my name now. Like in a horror film while I put my socks on in the morning and rummage around trying to find my left hoop earring I hear, in a hush so soft it sounds like the end of a boiling tea kettle or like a spooky spirit voice in a Percy Jackson movie,
‘Jessie, come….come…..I am a mess, you need all that I have and yet disregard the power I contain and will bestow upon you once this drawer’s contents are gone…..clean me, or be banished FOREVER!” Well something like that.
This week that voice won. I succumbed to the pressure and peeked inside.
I did see immediately why the drawer was blocked (and why I have ignored said drawer for months), as the wrinkled up whatever was wedged beautifully between the under-mount slides and the rest of the hardware. I began the tedious task of picking things out one by one until I saw the long lost twins of my childhood – my neon, striped, memory-filled tubes of polyester!
I put them on right away of course and ran downstairs to find my old vinyl copy of Magic, my favorite Olivia-Newton John album. The crackling and spin of the record took me back to 1136 Brown Deer Road where, during my many years of being a latchkey kid and a rock star wannabe, I sang my absolute heart out everyday after school with my leotard, headband and neon leg warmers. I truly believed I was on stage with this Australian goddess who chose me as her back-up singer. Together we awed the audience and belted out Heart Attack, Make a Move on Me, Xanadu, Deeper Than the Night and so many more. Soon, my living room here in Madison had the old duo back together again drowned out in encore pleas to continue the show. As we slowly made our way to the edge of the stage, where we would sit in casual form holding the microphones close to our lips as if to personally serenade the crowd, we began the tear-jerking finale with I Honestly Love You. Only problem was, Olivia’s voice was gone! She looks over at me with fear and shock and then nods to me – I need to go on; I must finish the show.
‘I’ve got this,’ I nod back. I take Olivia’s hand in mine and through the mic I belt out,
‘Maybe I hang around here
A little more than I should
We both know I got somewhere else to go…’
As I stared out at a standing ovation in flame sprinkled blackness I also then looked directly through my windows into the eyes of a couple walking their dogs; and even though they were walking 6 feet apart from one another I was able to catch the look they shared between them that said – That woman may be nuts so just keep walking, just keep walking, pretend the dog sees a squirrel and run…..!
Well that is what happened when I attempted to clean my dresser drawer.
We are all scared right now and unsure; we need to protect our families and our communities; We need to take care of ourselves.
We cannot answer every email. We cannot join or know how to log into every Zoom meeting. We cannot all home school our children like Anne Sullivan Macy. We are flawed humans trying to love as best we can in a chaotic time.
The lesson for me and for all of us that day was and is, as I channel my impervious and unruffled father,
“Everything in Moderation Jess.”
My addition to my dad’s words of wisdom is – go find some leg warmers and make a fool out of yourself in front of some freaked out dog walkers – there are a lot of them right now in need of entertainment!