I wouldn’t have thought, at the beginning of my adult life, that one day I would actually enjoy taking care of my home. Getting by in the greatest possible mess was one of the forms of my teenage rebellion against my mother, who – I’m absolutely convinced – at times would have preferred not having kids, should they trample on those spic-n-span floors. (That. And refusing to wear high heels. And hostile silences.)
I grew up in this strange fashion: Instead of sprouting upwards, it took me more or less thirty years to extend my presence from the area behind my eyes to the rest of my body. And only recently the fact that I occupy a space became apparent to my conscience. It so happens that after a gazillion of relocations, September was the final month of the Year of the Great Effort. It took me 1 (one) years to leave my House of the Spirits, in Rome, and get rid of the piles of stuff bundled up by the endless generations of OCD antiquarians in my family. It would seem that I belong to the same sort, but the truth is that I’m a sloth, so on top of an initial neatness (sheets that have been ironed 10 years earlier and winter/summer season cartons) I had planted a series of cubby-holes in steadfast growth. I currently live in a flat which is three times smaller than the previous one, everything here is diminutive (one of those places where you maximize spaces) and its maintenance gives me – surprise! – a great deal of peace.
I must have signed a sort of truce with myself, I guess: ideals and the “big picture” keep silent, my political conscience is asleep, I find lots of time for the petite and the insignificant, for bread and laundry and my home-made pesto, for unstructured pastimes, for silence and for rêverie.
In this general and amiably boring bonheur my dog had knee surgery – a troublesome and maddening thing that tied me home for weeks and framed me in a perpetual nesting scenario, carrying branches and dry leaves and cleaning. I’ve never cleaned so much my whole life. Let’s set this straight: no Italian housewife would even remotely approve of my domestic management, first and foremost because I don’t devote enough time and resources to meals, and also because I don’t iron underwear.
(I’m planning to create the Italian housewife meme, consecrated to the ultimate battle against casual water drops on the kitchen sink and the strongly felt need to work their ass off each and every day in order to reach the elbow grease orgasm. Once I find the right pic I’m done. “A descaler? Shut up and scrub!”)
Weird thing is that for the first time I feel that the steps I need to give substance to a few thingies that live in my subconscious and strive to go out are really within reach. In a word, it’s not social life, pulling all-nighters and partying – right now, what really inspires me is doing the dishes.