Friday, August 27, 2010

old habits die hard

Life has recently taught me that not all men are like my dad. And with that a number of my sacred beliefs and expectations in men at large have come crumbling down.

I blame it on having grown up watching my parents. I blame it on being taught how to be neat. I have a dad who is the most meticulous, ordered, neat and tidy man I know. Everything he owns or acquires has a dedicated place. If he uses something, it goes back exactly where it belongs, when hes done. As a result he seldom misplaces things, and he knows exactly where everything is. Because it will most likely be in its dedicated place, where he put it. As a result of living with such a neat-freak of a man, I guess it rubbed off on my mom too (not to say shes messy, but I guess it only got stronger).

So naturally I grew up with an understanding of how things should be meticulously arranged, and everything must always be in order. I blame my need to keep things in order, on this. I blame my obsessive need to tidy things even when theres nothing left to tidy, on this!

The other thing this did was create an unnatural belief in my head, that all men would be like my dad. I just assumed that all men are neat. Tidy. Organized. And most importantly care for things to be maintained in a neat and orderly fashion. I was SO wrong.

Iv learnt in recent times just how wrong that belief is. My hopes have been dashed. And I think my super parents and my super upbringing has something to do with it. By being just THAT meticulous around the house, they not only inculcating this ridiculous fetish for order in me, but also leading me to believe that this is a norm with the human race at large, I have grown up with a false expectation! That the man I would some day marry would be as neat as I wish he would be. Wrong.

At home, Im a compulsive cleaner. I have a daily routine of thing that must be done: covers to be folded and tucked away neatly, pillows neatly piled in that exact same order. The old newspaper stashed in the old-newspaper-pile, and the new one tucked in the niche under my centre table, ready to be picked up if I wish. The fridge is reorganized and cleaned out. The bathroom is set right, the shelf in order, the bath mat in its place, the laundry hamper and buckets side by side. The kitchen must of course be spic and span: the washed utensils wiped and put away where they belong, remnants of breakfast dishes in the sink and a clean counter for me to begin lunch preps. These are just SOME of the things I find myself doing everyday. Before I really begin working or doing what I have planned to for the day, I find myself sometimes wandering around the house, pottering about randomly putting things away, rearranging things, stacking things neatly, dusting corners..sometimes I exhaust myself! But it doesn’t deter my need to keep at it and it is why my home is rarely in a mess. It also helps that we have a clutter free, sparsely furnished home.

The husband however, has NO sense of order in him. And this lack of order doesn’t bother him. He’s jus wired differently I guess. For example, it taken a lot of explaining and understanding to get him to put his socks into the laundry hamper when he gets home from work. And I mean INSIDE the hamper, not vaguely around (when he aims to throw them in, but the socks don’t make the distance), not by the shoes, not on the floor in the bedroom, but INSIDE the hamper. Because that’s where they belong.

Its taken an equal amount of effort to make him see why leaving a wet towel in a pile on the bed is a bad idea, and that the clotheslines is a better place for it, and for him, and for me. Also, thankfully, he's slowly almost given up on the idea that random nooks and corner of the bedroom floor are good places to keep clothes that have been worn for short intervals of time and can be worn again. These are just a few teeny-tiny examples. Don’t even get me started on his wallet, pens, loose change, chocolate wrappers, packets of chips, empty cigarrette packs and the growing collection of beer bottles i have under my kitchen sink. Yes, they dont miraculously get returned to the supermarket. I have understood this fact, but VC needs some time still. Until then, I stash them away neatly in large plastic bags (that make them easy to be carried out), and behind the cabinet so that I dont have to look at them everyday and feel lousy. Nonetheless, I have decided that because I love him so, I can be the sole tidy-upper-of-things, while he slowly develops an understanding for these finer things in life. Until then, Im just happy if he hangs his towel out to dry, keeps his shoes where they belong, puts his socks to wash, does the dishes sometimes, helps me out when I get on my cleaning spree, be willing to put up with my incessant cleaning. Thats all I ask of him. Nothing more.

I can help but think though, that if my dad were a normal, untidy man, perhaps I wouldn’t have these unrealistic expectations of mankind. But I do, and that expectation has, like I said, taken a bashing. Leaving me to take on the onus of making sure our home is and always will be tidy. Because that’s how I like it.

I always believed there was a higher cosmic reason why I ended up marrying VC. Now I believe that being there to ensure that he has a spic and span home to come to is part of that reason.


purplepinking said...

A big cheers to all that.There is an even bigger recalibration of expectation required when you have a designer/painter husband.The process of tidying a house involves bringing down some 'arty' installations of using the sink for a newspaper stand, self initiating random hooks behind all doors which will allow hanging of clothes, a creative arrangement of cups and vessels in the kitchen that will replace the function of the refrigerator and keep ants at bay,collection of all bills/papers or anything with numbers on it, an artist's tantrum to leave the paint and brushes as they are for a few days after painting or threatening that the artist in him will die. So on and so forth. Sigh. Let's go back to our kitchens and drink chai to this revelation!

hAAthi said...

omg. my whole hearted sympathies.

i shudder to think what VC would have done with his home if he were to ever have one of his own, minus someone to maintain it for him!

Bhavna Shankar said...

Like i said... some therapy other than cleaning itself :) On a more serious note... leaving a wet towel in a pile on the bed, random nooks and corner of the bedroom floor are good places to keep clothes that have been worn for short intervals of time and can be worn again, letting the geyser remain on 24x7, and yes the socks remain tucked in the shoes (not by the shoes or anywhere else) until someone puts them in the laundry hamper, the TV remote tucked away under the sheets or worse still, in a pillow cover...these are somethings that are happening in my room in Blr and i'm preparing myself mentally to walk into a huge pile of everything under the sun when i get back!

hAAthi said...

lol.. same issues, different boat i guess!