The world has always burned, and people not caught in the middle of the fire have always found time to brew coffee and fold their laundry. Chores were the only thing that kept us human. To pick some papers up or get groceries at the last minute was a pursuit of the highest order. The world has always burned, and people still manage to find time to fall in love. To get some cleaning done is, perhaps, the most significant way to change our lives. To cook a meal is the most commonplace magic of all, but it was magic nonetheless. To be human was to have an inventory of things to do every day.
Our humanity was tucked along with the sheet we stretched neatly over our beds and tucked into the corners. The dishes were always waiting for us at night. This is how you knew someone was alive; the chores were being done. It was how I managed to drag myself out of bed on days it seemed impossible: to get groceries, clean the flat, or get something fixed. All my life, I have kept things in the right place. It may be an obsession, but I prefer calling it responsibility. Part of it comes, perhaps, from how my mother raised me, but not all of it. This tendency has slowly crept into my entire being. It is no longer limited by the physical room I am in. In many ways, I am constantly cleaning things up, cleaning as I go. In my mind, everything is in the right place. All my thoughts are earmarked, arranged and annotated.
It is, in many ways, the simplest way to exude control, especially when the world is burning; the world burned more often than it did not. The best we can do on most days is to fold our laundry and do it right while we’re at it. But this want for control is now slowly waning. I do not understand why that is yet. There is a lot I don’t understand when it comes to change. The other day, as I headed out, I left the book I was reading on the couch. I left my jacket on my chair. I was now okay with entertaining some mess. I reckon we all had to learn to do it at some point.
There was only so much we could keep spotless. Most life was a dusty, soiled affair. You did not know what the storm brought with it.