If you saw Jeepers Creepers in either its original outing or its second coming, you’ll be familiar with the notion of the near-indestructible demon who ventures forth every 23 years to eat him up some nubile young thangs. I am much the same way with cleaning my house, except without the nubile young thangs.
Spring peeped out this week, strobing briefly through the cold nights and occasional overcast, the reminders of a winter that hasn’t quite let go yet. In one of the balmy bits I had an urge to sit on my couch and read for a space – positively vernal, I! It was a brave plan, a good plan, a righteous plan. But a glance at where the couch used to be dashed it. Where I remembered a couch there was a great mound of books, papers, CD’s, pictures, bags, itinerant laundry, and dusty bric-a-brac. Time to bring the mountain not to Mohammed, but out to landfill. I kitted up with crampons, mattock, and garbage bags, and set to.
This is the part where I’m supposed to say that it wasn’t really that bad. Unfortunately, it was that bad.
My Mom used to save teabags when I was a kid. She had a little square dish for the purpose, the sort of thing that these days would be a mixer for wasabi paste and soy sauce, and after the first steeping she’d squeeze out each one, let it dry, and pop it in the fridge for further use. (I should note that Mom was reared shortly after the Depression, and she also likes very weak tea.) So that’s my excuse for discovering that I had kept a stash of every single box I have ever brought into the apartment over the past nine years – it’s genetic. Computer? There’s the box. Keyboard? Check. Speakers? Yup. Those games I bought from eBay? Of course. I had so many boxes, I could have mailed all my boxes to myself.
Have I mentioned that I run Home Office Records out of my apartment? Lotsa boxes. Don’t even get me started on the plastic bags.
By the time the first round of motivation started to flag, my curbside looked like a shantytown ready to migrate. I stopped buying the Times a few years ago when I realized that I was a non-essential step in the paper’s journey from newstand to curbside – I usually only penetrate as far as the reviews and the crossword puzzle – so it was really just boxes, with a smattering of ancient circulars and Return Service Requested credit card offers. By “smattering,” I mean two garbage bags full.
I’ve struck couch; I even sat on a bit of it. But now of course I have all these papers that want filing, and bits and pieces of this and that to sort. And I’ve got nothing to put them all in.