Monday, September 27, 2010

In Praise of Slobs

"I am a completely horizontal author. I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis."
-Truman Capote, my kind of guy.

Let's take a moment to praise the sloppy, the slovenly, and the scatter-brained. We are the wrinkled ones, and the spaghetti-sauce stained ones. The ones who leave sandwiches in hard to reach places only to discover them later when the smell of rotting ham begins to become unbearable. We're the people who have hundreds of dollars worth of bins and baskets from Ikea, which we buy in the blind hope that these sleek umlaut-sprinkled Swedish imports will organize our lives but they never do.

I grew up in a family of slobs. Actually, I'm possibly the neatest person in the family, but I am, irredeemably, a slob. My boyfriend very kindly doesn't express his horror when he comes over to my house, which I imagine to be something akin to that of a nineteenth century anthropologist stumbling into a camp of headshrinking Indians in South America. Except they probably manage to put the cap back on the toothpaste.

Now, I've never been the kind of person who would let anyone think I'm a slob. It's very important to me to have my shit together--school, work, my own personal appearance. I don't lose stuff, or do tasks shoddily, or flake out on people. But when it comes to chores I'm a hopeless corner-cutter. Dishes get left lying around until I have to chisel crusted milk and cereal paste off them with a spoon, which in turn tends to get bent in half. I sometimes forget to put a liner in the trash can and inevitably there ends up being a glob of gum, hair and yogurt dribbles at the bottom that pretty much looks like Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fucking gross, I know.

But guess what, neat freaks. Your anal-retentive personality is statistically speaking going to kill you. Yeah, I still can't color right or cut construction paper in a straight line. My microwave is a Ramen noodle encrusted disgrace. My brothers still can't put up the toilet seat, let alone put it down when they're done. My sister is incapable of taking off a garment and putting it anywhere but the floor. But if you're one of those people with color coded hangers that organize your wardrobe by season and then by type of event, I have news for you: my slovenly siblings and I are going to live longer than you.

The thing is, I'm busy: working, reporting, studying, reading, writing, and yeah, occasionally watching Gossip Girl or something equally enriching. I think a majority of messy people just have other things on their mind, which is why I hate it when slobby people get equated with lazy people. (You know who was a disaster? Einstein.) Sometimes I have to slog through a tape-recorded interview and turn it into a story. Sometimes I sit down and write for three hours because I have to. Sometimes I start daydreaming--which my fiction professor claims is legitimate "work" if you're a writer, although I have a hard time with that concept. Sometimes I call or visit a friend and end up talking for two hours. And sometimes I wind up writing a blog post, which is what I'm doing right now instead of taking out my recycling. I have a lot to say. And sometimes, I just don't get around to the other stuff. I can live with that.

Now, you'll have to excuse me but it's four o'clock. Time to switch to martinis.

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