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Lindsey Kuper

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The summer of my discontent [Jul. 23rd, 2006|11:36 pm]
Lindsey Kuper
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It's the least green I've ever seen it here. I've been going to the gym down the street every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to lift weights, and today I went even though it was Sunday, because running and lifting in the air conditioning sounded infinitely better than sitting around at home in the heat. It's too hot to sleep, to hot to go through this pile of paperwork I have to go through, and most definitely too hot to clean the house for WellonsCon tomorrow.

I always wanted to have the kind of house where people could just drop in and crash, possibly on very short notice, but I haven't yet achieved the kind of unceremoniousness that Jeff freyley and housemates apparently have ("We'll be confused if you knock"). My friend Shelly emailed a couple Thursdays ago to ask if she could crash the next day, and I didn't go into the usual Frantic Oh-No-Houseguests Mode, but that might have been because J-J meterbridge had just left two days previously and we had barely even folded up the futon yet. (Actually, I'm starting to think that maybe this is the answer: rather than never having people over, just have people over so often that there's no time for the house to get trashed in between times.) (And J-J, it must be noted, is the sort of awesome houseguest where, when he leaves, you actually have better living-room cable management and a more fully-stocked bar than you did before. And also a warm fuzzy glow.) Shelly arrived bearing the last of her most recent CSA take: three beets and a lone kohlrabi. We did not know what to do with these things. In fact, neither of us remembered ever having eaten beets prepared in any way except pickled. I had a cookbook with a recipe for Carrot, Ginger, and Beet Soup, though, so we tried that, and it came out really well: thick, rich, and intensely red, but the flavor wasn't overpowering. (I steamed the kohlrabi with some carrots a few days later, and that wasn't half bad either. Thanks for expanding my vegetable horizons, Shell.)

The point of the cleaning is not to get anyone to think you're making a special effort for them. To the contrary, you want them to think that you always live in a clean house; that you Have It Together enough to dust on a regular basis; that your couch is not, nor has it ever been, covered with pet hair and crumbs; that the computer keyboard does not have bits of food stuck under it, because you would never, ever do anything so uncivilized as to eat sitting at the computer, and if you did, you would certainly never spill; and, most of all, that you don't have stacks of papers sitting around and on top of everything which you've come to navigate around instead of just moving out of the way for fear of screwing up some "organizational" scheme which you devised months ago and have mostly forgotten anyway. And so, the frantic pre-guest cleaning. And the ludicrousness of how, when the guests finally get there, you're too tired to do anything, except possibly to shepherd them away from the closet where you hid all the mess.

I was raised in the sort of household that didn't exactly put a premium on housekeeping. (This is not a criticism of my parents. They were busy with other things, like trying to make ends meet and teaching us to read.) Consequently, it was also the sort of household where we didn't have people over too often, and when we did, my mom ran around crazily beforehand trying to clean up the mess we all made by existing. I've inherited a little more of that trait than I would like. I know that it's kind of ridiculous -- if my friends were the kind of people who cared much about whether my place was clean when they came over, then they probably wouldn't be my friends -- but I can't help it.

Richard Heinberg says that the end of cheap oil will bring "societal collapse", where "collapse" is defined as a reduction in complexity. I may live to regret saying this, but honestly, right now reduction in complexity isn't sounding so bad.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2006-07-25 02:51 am (UTC)
Good post. I saw how hot it was out there, and I can only say I comiserate.

I'm so unfamiliar with beets that when someone recently mentioned a "beet farmer" I thought "Beat farmer," like the Beat generation. Hey, if there are beat poets, why not beat farmers? But then I realized that made no sense.
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