October 11, 2006

My Inner Demon

I came face to face with the beast again yesterday. It had been quite a while since he's appeared and I have almost forgotten about him. But there we were - eye to eye.

I was babysitting for my friend Jill while she went on a lunch date. Since my kid is out of town, I went to her house to watch her little girls. This dear woman has 5 children and only two bedrooms to put them in. This means that the 3 year old I was babysitting shares her room with an 8 year old and 11 year old. The entire house is a miracle of "making it work" and each nook is creatively used to accommodate their large family.

Jill warned me when she left that the rear of the house was a disaster. When you have 5 kids and a life, you don't have time to keep on top of every little toy that falls on the floor. I understand this. I'm glad she has her priorities in line. So I settled in the clean front room with the 3 year old and played for the first hour. But eventually, we exhausted the possibilities in the front room, and the girl led me to her room to get a new game off a high shelf.

It was an addict's nightmare.

There I was standing foot deep in a room scattered with toys, Legos, puppets, clothes, books, and all other variations of kiddie refuse. But it wasn't mine. I knew the last thing Jill would want was for me to get involved.

I'm not going to clean up. I'm not going to clean up. I repeated to myself. Jill would be embarrassed if I organized her kids' rooms for her. I'll just let it all lie.

But it all was a lie. We went back to the front room with our game but after 5 minutes of trying to put the mess out of my mind, I made up some lame excuse about "finding something" in the bedroom and made a beeline for the enticing mess.

It was too perfect. Bins labeled "Legos" stood empty. Bookshelves had been ravished. Dress up clothes hung from the timbers. Since I wasn't quite sure when my friend would return, I cleaned stealthily yet frantically listening for the sounds of the car in the driveway so I could flee the scene. I made sure to keep strategic pieces of large clothes and paper scattered randomly on the floor and the beds unmade so the casual observer may think the room was unkempt. But underneath lay the disgusting truth. Every box had been refilled, every shelf organized and the doll house carefully put back together with each pink component. The crime was far more severe than I had intended.

And there is was - the sound of the door opening. I bustled out of the bedroom and greeted my friend with a breathless hello and falsely large smile. Please don't let her look in the bedroom, I silently prayed. And He heard me. I gave a quick farewell, hoped in the car and sped off fueled by my guilt.

I've been waiting for the phone call every since. "Hollywood, did you clean my kids' room?" To which I've got my lie all prepared, "your children must have done it!" Which is both impossible and pathetic. But how can I explain my addictive cleaning habits to this woman and ever be allowed back in her house again? I don't want people knowing that I am compelled to organize, label and straighten every room I go into otherwise we'll be the black sheep of the social circuit. Friends would always wonder if I would rather be cleaning their bathroom than having a nice chat on the couch. And they would be right to wonder. I've done remarkably well hiding this monster, but faced with such an impossible situation yesterday, I was incapable of repressing him. I became the beast. And I liked it.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, tell the beast that my house is in desperate need of the beast. come out any time.

Bethany

Mamasita said...

You are sick, baby. A utilitarian sickness, but honestly, how to feed that addiction? Why not come out to Dallas, and get going inside my unpacked box-filled closets? The other day I went to take a bath in my office bathroom because I couldn't use my own. When I pulled back the shower curtain I found BOXES stacked stealthily inside the tub, waiting for YOU. Come, come, ye saint. No toil nor labor fear...

AngelaM said...

Hey Monica, I think it is time we had you over for dinner! And I might accidentally leave my linen/random stuff closet door and pantry curtain open. I am at such a loss when it comes to organizing that stuff.

You should be a consultant on one of those reality shows--the ones that go into unbelievably cluttered homes and give them a makeover. I always wonder if the subjects have really been living like that and how the consultants think their makeovers are going to change slob habits.

Patrick said...

Sarah, you can clean our bathroom anytime. AND you don't have to feel the least bit sorry for it... we won't.

girl in the messy apartment said...

Great, now I know what you're really thinking every time you come over! :)

nobody special said...

yeah, so that was the inner demon I was meaning to get but when they were handing it out I thought they said Meat freak instead of Neat freak, and, -just too morbid- so I passed. I ended up with a wimpy shoe fetish and I think they threw in a mild inferiority complex that sleeps and wakes according to a monthly cycle...

A Payne said...

God bless you, my child, for babysitting someone elses kids while your own are out of town. Then, to clean their house. You need a hobby.
It sounds all too familiar to me. We might have been separated at birth.
My 3 kids are in school all day now. I finding myself resisting the urge to offer to babysit. I think I need to be medicated and just enjoy the time that I have to myself to attend to the responsibilities of my home. I must be afraid of something. I must be afraid of what I would have to deal with now that I have the the time to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

there are worse afflications you could have.

Suzie Petunia said...

Um, will you be my best friend and come organize MY house?

Th. said...

.

Where does the line start for inviting you over?

Samantha said...

Yeah, I was gonna say...come to my apartment, as often as you'd like.

Kristine said...

I'd be happy to help you occupy any extra time you happen to have on your hands.

Bravo to you for sharing yourself...babysitting and cleaning...what gifts you gave your friend today!