And it’s not because I’m a perfectionist or I don’t want people to see my house a mess. It’s because I can’t relax when things are out of order. Clutter makes me crazy. Literally. I can’t nap in a room where there are clothes on the floor. I can’t leave the kitchen if there are dishes in the sink. I can’t watch TV when someone’s spilling cracker crumbs on the carpet. I have to clean them up. I don’t want to. I haveto. And I hate it.
Unless I am full engaged and committed to an activity—writing, reading, sleeping—and doing it in a reasonably tidy room, I’ll start looking for things to straighten, wipe, file, recycle or throw away. Instead of sitting on the floor and playing with my kids, I skulk behind them like the Grim Reaper waiting for them to put down what they’re playing with so I can put it back in its place.
I’m not right.
This might explain my initial reaction to this morning’s Vacuum Incident. I was vacuuming the house so we could all go for a walk (shut up; that does too make sense) and I felt this disturbing sensation. Like I was being strangled. It was as if someone was tightening a noose around my neck. And I thought, now this is the last straw, Amanda; you have officially lost your mind … and then I smelled something burning and realized that my Pashmina scarf was being eaten by the vacuum cleaner, and I was! I was being strangled by the vacuum! And because my neck was being yanked toward the front of the vacuum, I couldn’t reach the switch at the back of the vacuum to turn it off. So I had to throw myself onto the vacuum and wrestle it to the ground in order to reach its plug and yank it out of the wall.
In that very moment, Larry walked out of the hall bathroom.
“What in the … what is going on?”
“Our vacuum has just tried to kill me.”
To his credit, the man didn’t say a word. Though I’m sure in the back of his mind, he was thinking, “Can you BLAME it?”