It’s not a secret that quite a few things in this life bug, bother and baffle me. We’ve united in fury … twice. But the other day, I was chopping up pickles for tuna sandwiches—and making absolutely certain to keep the butts (where the stem had been) out of the mix, for people who are particular about such things—when I realized that it really all balances out. Meaning, there are lots of things I don’t mind at all, that others simply cannot abide. I noted this fact as I popped the butts of about 15 baby dills in my mouth, while doing a happy food dance.
Maybe I’m not as picky as I once thought. Let’s swan dive into some examples.
I don’t panic over banana strings, because I’m too busy eating them. They’re called phloem bundles—but I just call them “part of the banana”—and they help carry nutrients to the entire fruit. So while you’re delicately removing them with grouchy, pursed lips, my fully nourished body has moved on.
I also don’t mind extreme heat. I was born and raised where it’s routinely over 100 degrees in the summer—and I like it. In fact, I like it to be so hot it’s hard to breathe. Bring it. I prefer dry heat, but I’m not that picky. I also love the deliciously crippling heat of saunas and steam rooms.
Side Note: My mom loves steam rooms, too. One time we were at a spa in Arizona and decided it was time for a good steam. The room was rather large and looked a lot like this:
Ours was brighter and appeared welcoming. Other women were already in the middle of their
terrifying experience steam, so we found a spot and sat near each other. Our moods were good as we anxiously awaited purification. We were quietly carrying on about something—more than likely the location of our next meal—when all of a sudden, the loudest, eeriest, most horrifying sound came surging out from below the benches. I’d liken it to Darth Vader’s breathing, but about three minutes longer and maybe how he’d breathe if he had fingernails and someone was pulling them off, one by one, with needle-nose pliers. Right when the sound started, I jumped out of my skin and held both palms up high to show I wasn’t armed, then turned to look at my mother—who I thought would always protect me—but I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t even see my own body. WHERE WAS MY BODY?! It was like a thousand angry cumulus clouds had filled the room. The sound, plus the absolute blindness—and truly not knowing if something had gone awry in the bowels of the generator—had me disoriented and confused. Just when I was about to assume the fetal position and re-invite Jesus into my heart, the steam stopped. I could sort of see the door, and soon, a few faces even came into view. I looked to my left and my mom was sitting straight up, bug-eyed, with both hands on her heart. Once we made eye contact and blinked hard a few times, we died out laughing. Then we held each other and promised to never let go. Then we remembered food was next on the itinerary, and the joy was back.
I’m guessing this isn’t common, but I like to listen to songs on repeat. If I fully and completely love a song, I can literally have it on repeat for several days. However, I never re-read books—ever—even ones I dearly love. I have zero desire to re-read a story I’ve already fictitiously experienced. I’m sure these two things don’t jive, but it’s my reality. I also never re-watch movies. Wait—that’s not true. I forgot about Dumb & Dumber. And Tommy Boy. And Knotting Hill. Oh, never mind; I was younger then. These days it would feel like such a waste of precious time to re-watch a movie.
And now I’m probably going to make some of you mad. So if you have a short fuse or feel defensive over your slothful ways, you might want to go stand by that sink of dirty dishes and count to ten. Here goes.
I enjoy cleaning. The house, the garage, the porch, the car. I love trimming trees and pruning hedges. I like putting away clean laundry. I like taking out the trash. I like sweeping off the patio. Certain tasks are more rewarding than others, and I especially delight in the ones where I can see marked improvement and revel in the visual appeal of orderliness. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, so I love making—and keeping—things neat.
Order creates harmony and happiness in my brain synapses, so cleaning doesn’t feel like a chore to me.
Side Note: This is one of the many reasons I’d find driving a tractor or running a lawn service more fulfilling than wordsmithing Hello Kitty dresses. Plowing a field, mowing, landscaping—something where I can see progress—satisfies my being on a cellular level.
Side Note For The Side Note: My friend text the other morning and said she stopped to fill up on her way to work and saw a bunch of lawn guys jump out of a truck. She found herself looking at them longingly, like TAKE ME WITH YOU. She also has a good job—the kind we’re supposed to want—but there she was, looking dreamily at the crew and wanting to jump in the back of the pick-up with her own bag of Takis. She thought I’d think she was crazy, but I told her, “Shut. Up.” the way I do when she texts me pics of good food, because, I. KNOW. AND. I. WANTS.
Hand in hand with cleaning is this: organization soothes my soul. I love the satisfaction I get from changing a light bulb, putting new batteries in a flashlight, charging my Fitbit and cleaning out a junk drawer (I’m almost totally positive I don’t need the gas bill from 2012 or those tiny, random screws or 2-year old lip balm I never liked to begin with.) I love adding new passwords to my master file and feeling like I have my affairs in order. Disorder weighs on me—I can feel it physically. I have approximately umpteen thousand trillion photos and videos saved across 3 hard drives and the Backblaze cloud—and they’re mostly organized by date and event—but I also have lots of duplicates because of edits and photo albums. It soothes me that they’re safe, but weighs heavily on me that they’re not fully organized the way my brain wants them to be.
Side Note: At any given time, if someone thinks I look off my game and asks what’s wrong, it’s probably just that I need to organize the pantry or pack for a trip. Nothing is wrong, I’m just mentally tidying up—which often times presents itself as a serious face.
Please don’t get physical with me, but I also love waking up early on weekends. I know that’s not popular, but for me, it just means I have more time to do things I love. An extra hour or two allows me to make the most of every minute not spent at my work computer. If I’m asleep, I’m just dreaming of life, but if I’m awake, I’m actually living it—and that makes me happy.
I drive 40-45 minutes to work each day—each way—and I don’t mind it at all. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Reading is fuel to my soul and my commute allows me to get through exponentially more books than I would if I just read before bed. I actually look forward to getting in my car each day, so I can get back to my story.
I know many people who just hate certain words. I have to say that, while I completely and irrationally despise the word “tasty” … I’m not as passionately disgusted by “moist” as a lot of people I know and love. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it or use it, but I don’t run away plugging my ears either.
Side Note: One time, my sister and I were discussing words we dislike and most of the usual suspects came up (ointment, panties, goiter), and then she said, “I HATE the word duvet.” I just laughed like, “Duvet? You hate duvet? You actually have an opinion about duvet?” She got more and more worked up the more she considered this “obnoxious” word. I was becoming weak from laughter when my niece—just as serious as her mom—chimed in, “I can’t stand the word “elsewhere.” I decided they were two peas in a pod—just two peas hating-random-words-they’d-have-a-hard-time-escaping-in-this-life in a pod. Just two ointment-hating peas in a moist, tasty pod.
Sorry, I’ll go now. But not before I share the greatest comment section of all time—please enjoy all 2,800 and thank me later.