Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish (verlaine) wrote,
Cityish Alt-ish Fortyish
verlaine

The Light and Darkness War

Due to a reprehensible infelicity of phrasing (posting at breakneck speed in dog-end of lunch hour = bad), I maligned dear the_alchemist quite badly in a post yesterday, and had to take everything down before somebody lost an eye. Sorry! But it's all alright now, we've made up - staying angry at me for long would be like staying angry at a puppy after all, but more importantly our friendship rests on much firmer foundations than just haggling over the housework.

Did get me thinking though: housework has been a recurring source of tension in my home life, much as unpunctuality/internet use in my work history, and I wonder what there is I can do about it. I really promise you, I don't think "man, what this living room needs is a good hoovering, but if I only lay low for a few days someone will do it for me". I actually, genuinely, look at a slightly disordered, dusty room and see nothing wrong with it. My work colleagues are always on at me to clear my desk of strewn paper, in a similar vein; it helps maintain their sanity, but to me it just makes everything harder to find.

I don't know why I keep ending up living with tidies. (Maybe when they look at me they see another thing that needs tidying up, and are all, well, somebody's got to do it.) In such a domestic arrangement, I can't say I know what a fair assignment of the labour is. Equal division of all the work the tidy would like done doesn't seem quite right, if 90% of it is stuff the messy couldn't care less about. Allowing disarray or washing-up to accumulate in communal areas is unfair in the opposite direction, but I can't say I know how unfair. It's offending the tidy's aesthetic sensibilities rather than their ability to get things done, isn't it (assuming that the messy hasn't used all the pots and pans in the kitchen, or whatever)? So how does this differ from the messy coming downstairs and the tidy saying "God, you look scruffy - go upstairs and put on a suit and tie. Have a shave. In fact, forget the shave, wear a mask. If you don't, stay out of the living room." FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

j4 said something worthy of preservation in a comment yesterday: I just think housework is a really lousy battleground for arguments about commitment and betrayal, and it baffles me that it's such a popular one. It baffles me too, but it seems to me that the messy/tidy axis could be just as significant as sub/dom, introvert/extrovert, mono/poly, smoker/non, or any of the other factors on which successful human relationships are made or broken. I also think that poor old messies suffer under the assumption that tidiness is a better, saner, healthier state of being than mess. I don't think that's really true, except at the extremes, and even then OCD isn't that great an alternative to filth. But I ramble. Have you ever lived with someone with a different standard of tidiness to yourself? How did you work this out? Or did you just become a festering pit of powerless resentment and rage?

Oh, and ravenblack, you should re-post that comment that I thwarted you from making you yesterday, as it is a lone voice of reason in the wilderness!
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