I’ve just walked down the hall past the bedrooms, as you do, and noticed things were not exactly in exhibition home condition.
Harking back to somebody once saying a person with a tidy desk is not very productive, I would have to deduce the Rt Hons are leading extremely productive lives indeed. We can but dream. One of them in particular seems to be obsessively interested in the cultivation of varying genuses of bacterium – if it turns out to be a cure for a terminal disease I’ll apologise – in the meantime, I’d like my Fat Momma coffee mug and Peter Rabbit porridge bowl back, please, before they crawl off somewhere to die of their own accord.
Having had that little grumble and wondering piously why I was the only one who seemed worried about tidiness or hygiene, I went outside to hang the washing – only to discover something mildly (in a ghastly kind of way) interesting. The state of my tea towels. I don’t do the starching and ironing thing like ‘proper’ housewives – mine just get chucked in the wash. And there they were, hanging in the breeze like the rotting, shredded rags they unwrap from the remains found in sarcophagi. Before you sneer in contempt, I dare you to check out your own. The trouble is, you get so used to them you never see them through someone else’s eyes. Pretend you’re your mother-in-law for a minute. Have another look. Shame! When did you last replace them? Have a sniff. If you’re still standing, you’re not even in my league.
Here’s something else interesting to try – for short people. Put a stool in the middle of your kitchen and stand on it. In my case, it brings me approximately into line with the way the Hunter Gatherer must see things. The top of the fridge looks as if I could plant seeds in it. Why has he not said something? Everything looked perfectly OK from where I was standing before. How many people have visited lately who are taller than I? One of the HG’s colleagues appeared in the living room the other week with a giant cobweb wrapped around his face – and I assumed he always looked like that.
Have a look in your kitchen sink. Are there crumbs and bits of vegetable peel in the bottom? Does your dishcloth look as if it has been stuck up the exhaust pipe of your car? If the aforementioned mother-in-law looked in it right now, would she still allow you to be married to her son?
Bathroom, then. Are there hairs in the plughole? Has someone spat toothpaste at the mirror and left a hirsute and dandruffed hairbrush balanced on the shelf? Do the family toothbrushes look as though you clean grout with them? Let’s not visit the WC just yet. Information overload is not warranted at this stage. But you get the picture. If you were someone else, would you find the habits of yourself and your family disgusting?
If the Freezer Police were to make an impromptu visit, would they find orphaned peas rolling in the bottom of your Tuckerbox? Would they need icepicks and abseiling equipment to hack through in the first place? How ‘expired’ are the dates on those chicken thighs? It’s OK though, isn’t it – you can keep the lid closed and who’s going to know about it? Next time you visit your friends, open their freezer and have a good ol’ comparison in the interest of research.
Sofa cushions. Go lift them up. Whoooooaaa! If you’re in luck, you’ll find money. Pre-decimal, probably, if you’re like me. Visit your friends again and lift up their sofa cushions.
Checked out the back of the pantry lately? That bicarb expired in 1973. Those aren’t just weevils in the cornflour – they’re the great, great grandchildren of weevils. Weevilosaurus, if you will. They’ve been extinct for decades. And why did you ever buy that tin of quail eggs?
I’m not trying to make you feel bad. Just trying to make myself feel a little better. Everything would have been fine if I hadn’t stood on that stool. Why did I do that? A good day completely ruined because of some damn tea towels. There’s a lot to be said for plonking your sorry arse down and opening a good book. That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow.
Might have a bash at those quail eggs, too.