Last weekend was one of the busiest weekends of my life, in which I was barely able to accomplish half of what I wanted to do. (Clearly I ought to learn how to set realistic expectations.) My house had gotten to a point of distress, so I spent the Saturday not just cleaning, but also taking the time to buy storage for the sheets and organizing them, as well as getting rid of things and switching out winter clothes for summer clothes and dealing with the mounds of laundry that have piled up.
I really don’t have any idea how people with neat houses do it; I also have no idea how to make my house stay clean and still have time to do anything else. I do live with three people that have greater thresholds for mess than I do, so I do (probably a lot) more than my twenty-five percent, which contributes, but it’s still a mystery. Even after working all weekend, there are still a ton of messy spots in the house; the bathroom I scrubbed top to bottom two weeks ago needs scrubbing again. From a time management perspective, short of quitting my job and spending all of my time keeping up with the house, it seems impossible. I presume that there are ways to make cleaning less labor intensive, so I’ve been focusing on setting up things in that vein, like getting the sheets sorted into nice storage bins and setting up cleaning supplies on every floor of the house. The best that I’ve got is to keep trying to be more efficient, because I’m just not willing to give up the things I’d rather be doing just to have more time to keep the house clean. Though I do love coming home to a clean house – the Saturday didn’t feel wasted, because the house seems so much fresher and restful now for all the decluttering and scrubbing that I did. The process of turning chaos into order is a little bit magical, even though I’m not one to normally love cleaning. On Saturday, though, it just felt like the right thing to be doing.
On the Sunday I made time to go out cycling, doing a 16 mile training ride in preparation for the 5 Boro Bike Tour, which we’re riding tomorrow. Cycling is a funny sport for me. I never want to actually go, but once I’m on a bike and past the first mile, I am filled with such a joy for the freedom that a bicycle brings. There’s really no other transport like it. Cars rush you by so fast that you can barely take in your surroundings. Walking is so slow that you barely get anywhere. But on a bicycle, you can cover a decent amount of ground in a short enough period of time to really get somewhere, but you’re going slow enough that you have time to look around and really see where you are. It’s a delightful mishmash of situation. It’s freedom and adventure. It always fills me with a wonder of the universe, as I get to see my surroundings in an entirely new way.
I tend to take a trail that runs from Massepequa to, I learned, Bethpage. I was at the north end of the trail when a tall man with a rather impressively extended pot belly walked up to me. He’d come to the park on foot. He asked me if I knew how to get to some particular surrounding street. I told him I had no idea even what town I was in, since I always start at the opposite end of the trail. He looked at me in surprise, his eyebrows shooting upwards. “You didn’t know this was Bethpage until I told you right now?” Not at all, I assured him. He looked amazed and chuckled, then walked away. That’s the adventure of cycling; I managed to bike several towns away without even knowing where I was. The town I was passing through was so irrelevant; but conversely I actually did know exactly where I was, in a different sense. I knew the trees and the park and the water fountains and I knew how to get there. What’s in a name? It’s about the adventure.
I read a recent Time magazine article with Julia Luis Dreyfuss, who most of the world probably knows as Elaine from Seinfield. She’s apparently on a new show called Veep, in which she plays the vice-president. As a feminist, I probably should have known about that and should probably even watch it. As a me, I have failed once again at pop culture. But the very last question they asked her was, “What would you change about your life if you had it to do over again?” She said, brilliantly, “I would wear more sunblock.”
I am so inspired, Julia Luis Dreyfuss. To the cycles and the pedals and the cleaning. I hope to live a life where I regret nothing and no time wasted. Here’s to the adventure and wonder of it all.