Thursday 15 February 2007


Is it a natural male/female divide? Or a mother/anyone else one? Or maybe it's just me.

I'm untidy. By inclination and by choice, I live in more-or-less chaos. I'd find it quite unsettling to have everything in exactly its proper place, every cushion plumped and each surface clear.

On the other hand, I have a inbuilt clutterometer that starts to sound an alarm when a certain degree of overload is reached. For example, let's say that a member if the family is doing some paperwork. I think that it's entirely reasonable to leave it out to finish the next day, even if it spreads all over the table and seeps onto the floor. A half-done jigsaw or Lego edifice was treated with similar tolerance when my children were younger. However, if it's still there weeks later, untouched, gathering dust, it's going to get cleared away - by its owner if he's there or by me if it's in my way. Naturally, if I do the clearing, however festooned it had become with grimy cobwebs, that would be the day it would be required and lamentations would assuredly follow.

Whatever housework is done around here is normally done by me. When my children lived at home they and the Sage helped, but nowadays if I don't do it it isn't likely to get done at all. The exception is the dishwasher, which is filled or emptied by whoever is around, and recently, as I've been busy, the Sage has emptied it most often.

Today, I fetched a glass and cut open a couple of oranges. "Would you like some orange juice?" I asked Ro. He said yes please, so I squeezed the juice, poured it into the glass and gave it to him. The Sage didn't want any juice, but he was by the cupboard. "Would you get me another glass, please?" He took out a pint tumbler. "Sorry, there aren't any smaller glasses."

Now, I'm not a fussy person, but that was all wrong. I couldn't put the juice of two oranges into a pint pot. I couldn't (at an appropriate time of day) have drunk wine out of it, either. I went to the cupboard, reached (no need to move them) behind the pint glasses and took out a wine glass.

To return to my question at the start. Is it a male thing or what? First, why could he not see that there were smaller glasses behind the big one? Second, and I have explained this now, when I put glasses away, I automatically group them. A front-to-back row of similar type. I am emphatically untidy, disorganised, casual, but this seems normal to me.

The Sage was impressed by my reasoning and has assured me he will follow my example in future. But I've always done it and quietly tidied up after him, for to mention it except when the moment presents itself as it did today, would be the action of a bore and a nag. And in nearly 34 years, he had never noticed.



badgerdaddy said...

We're not programmed to think of such things, frankly.

We're out hunting, foraging for fishfingers, seeking out Maltesers every day, and noticing glasses and the like... Well, it doesn't happen. Unless there aren't any, and we'll use whatever we can find rather than clean some.

Z said...

And that is, of course, why you are so much better and more interesting than me.

I try. I do try. I only put things in the right place if it is no more effort than the wrong one and it makes life far easier in the long run too. And I know my place and provide clean glasses at all times, but am unperturbed if you choose to drink out of the bottle.

Unless it's the milk bottle, that you then return to the fridge.

dharmabum said...

omg, i am very particular about my things being in order - i just can't take disorder...mebbe coz both my parents are like that, dad - more so. i used to be constantly scolded for 'misplacing' things.

Z said...

You might find my family just a little hard to cope with, then!

Monozygote said...

Glasses and cutlery I think are much easier to organise than paperwork.
a) I have far more pieces of paper than I do glasses
and b) categories of paper-work are self-evolving and can be unpredictable, whereas categories of glasses tend to be pre-existing and fairly stable, on the surface of it.

Z said...

I have a vertical filing system. I usually know how long ago I received and ignored a piece of paper, so can work my way down the pile and know roughly how far down to file it.

The Sage has a horizontal system. He needs the whole floor.

y.Wendy.y said...

I have to meet the male (note - male - not man - because this phenomenon happens right from toddlerhood) who can see something he's looking for when it's RIGHT in front of his eyes. It's funny and frustating at the same time. My boys do it all the time. Drives me nuts.