Ever since early childhood I’ve been an enthusiastic tidier. Tidying, cleaning and organizing are among my favorite activities. It’s my #1 thing to do when I’m stressed, angry, upset or tired. Very little soothes me quite like tipping everything out of my closet and putting it all back, in better order or reorganizing my books.
As a small child, I noticed all my friend’s parents used to hassle them to tidy their bedrooms. Some of these particular parents would even come around and have a look to make sure the child in question had eliminated the offending mess sufficiently. My mother never did this, I used to tidy my bedroom constantly (basically whenever I didn’t have anything else to do.) and I would have to go to her and pester her while she worked, “Mum, come and look at my room! Mum, it’s really tidy! Mum, I did a really good job today.” Eventually she would crack and discard whatever she was working on (my mother is effectively an artist and spends a lot of time at a table in our “breakfast room” – read: studio) and have a look. She would take a cursory look, “that’s very nice, Colva” and that would be the end of it.
Sometimes I used contemplate making a mess so that I would have something to clean up. Being the sort of person who likes to clean up messes does seem like the sort of thing one should keep secret. I used to work in the university archive at George Mason, I spent many glorious long hours in the back room sitting on a book stool surrounded by things that needed to be gone through, sorted and filed accordingly.
Recently, I’ve taken to washing my dishes without the aid of my dishwasher. Today, I decided to calm myself out of a Foucault-induced-frenzy cleansing my bathroom, painstakingly with a purpose-use battery operated toothbrush. I have the cleanest bathroom in Virginia.
Because of this personality trait I’ve come to a conclusion about tidy and messy people, and of course, those strangoids in between. Messy people are indifferent. They neither care whether a space a messy or tidy, they don’t usually prefer it messy and don’t usually care if it’s tidy. Tidy people are the opposite, they prefer things to be tidy. What’s weird is when you meet tidy people who don’t like to tidy and it’s worse when they have the misfortune to live with messy one’s. What results is a person who prefers a tidy space but doesn’t like to tidy living with an indifferent piglets.
I like living with indifferent piglets, it gives me something to do.