My Mother had a lot of sayings when I was growing up. One of her favorites was “Clean your room.” I may have just cleaned it the day before, or the week before perhaps, but she’d still insist that I needed to clean my room. I did have a habit of just throwing things wherever seemed convenient. To me, the room was never that messy. But then, I sometimes have selective eyesight.
I think, being a kid, I probably complained about it a lot. Not that I was lazy or anything, but I had so many other things to do. Important things, like; ride my bike, play with the dog, read a book, or even watch grass grow - anything but clean my room.
One day, when I had a lot of pressing issues and things to get done, I thought I’d outsmart her. Instead of taking the time to clean my room the proper way, I shoved everything into the closet and under the bed. And by everything, I mean not only all the toys but even the stuff on top of the chest and my headboard, and off the dresser. The room looked spotless!
About 5 minutes after she’d sent me to clean, I went back downstairs, prepared to get on with my day.
“Did you clean your room already?” My Mother asked with a doubting look.
“Yep. All done,” I told her, trying to scurry out the door.
My Mother, however, being wise to my ways, decided to have a look before I went outside. I followed along behind her, thinking she would certainly be pleased with the job I had done. Never in a million years did I expect her to go directly to the bed and look under it - but that’s exactly what she did! And then she walked to the closet!
Needless to say, I spent the next several hours re-cleaning my room - the correct way this time. And the whole time, all I could think of was; how had she known? So much for outsmarting her!
All these years later, you’d think I would have learned to keep things picked up, but no such luck. I’m a piler. I pile papers, tools, books, clothes - pretty much anything I’m carrying, on the dresser, the table, the counter, the bed, and if all the available space is taken, the floor works nicely. No, my wife is not impressed with my “tidiness” and my piles of clutter. But, after nearly twenty-six years, I think she’s given up.
On the bright side, I don’t have to search through drawers or boxes for things I need, it’s often out in the open, right there on the counter - sort of. Buried halfway down in a pile of papers and other junk could almost be considered “in the open” couldn’t it?
Here’s the odd part of my story. Although my Mother lives three hours away, every now and then - at the strangest times - I distinctly hear her saying, “Clean your room.” And sometimes I do, but usually, I have more urgent matters, like well, anything.