I had a moment today where I was enjoying my time in the yard trying to fold a large tarp meant to cover a metal framework for a deck tent all by myself in the gentle tousle of a cool autumn wind. It began simple enough. This thing looks basically like a fitted sheet so I should be able to fold it just like a fitted sheet. After one noisy and fumbling attempted I decided to try laying it down and smoothing it first. Try as I might, soon as I’d get one side down, the wind would flip up the other. I stopped in frustration and laughed. I thought about how if I had Jack here, I’d still have the same problem. I could imagine him giggling at my exacerbated sigh as he playfully flipped up the corner I had just smoothed out and gotten to lay flat. I really enjoy our playful dynamic. He’s a pain in my ass and that’s what I need him for. To remind me to laugh.
As I think of him I remember him earlier pointing out the cinder blocks I had moved to the side patio of the patio. They had been used to hold down the legs of our deck tent but since we took it down, they no longer had a purpose and with no where else really to go, I put them to the side. I walked over to the edge and squatted down and picked up a cinder block in both hands. I walked back to the tarp, squatted down, smoothed a corner and tacked it down with a block then stood up, lifting the next with me, and walking over to the other corner. I repeated this for the other two corners. I continued rotating around the square as I methodically smoothed and folded the tarp. As soon as I became aware of how inefficient I was being over something I could just quickly fold up messily and put away, out of sight out of mind. Then I began to notice the precision I took with each movement, bracing my core with every squat, engaging in my quads to take strain off my lower back and knees, curling the blocks as I lifted them, ensuring a solid back, ready to carry the load. I was having fun doing this slow and repetitive task, it felt meditative. My body focused on the task at hand and my mind free to drift away on the wind. I thought about when I took the rugs out and beat them last month, how much I had enjoyed the experience and the work out that it gave me.
I became determined to create a regimen that helped me combine working out and housework. I could replace a workout and a chore while adding quality time by the natural stress reduction of the time to reflect. I set to the internet to find out if anyone else has found ways to turn cleaning house to working out. In my poetic mind I felt the best place to start was to find out how the old world did it. Simply curious how things can be done without electricity and machinery, I googled “how old world housework was done”
The first hit is for the Wikipedia entry on housework. The rest of the front page are headlines screaming that women are still doing the housework, pointing out the feminist war on sexism is not over, there was even an line that asked who is supposed to be the one to do the housework. I was defeated. This is why we’re missing the point. Questions no longer get answers, they get rhetoric. Someone young, naive, and hungry for knowledge can be very easily led astray. If you don’t know how to look for the truth, how do you know you’re being led astray?
But really, what makes me any better if I sit here pointing out the point that everyone is missing the point because everyone is so busy pointing out what’s wrong. I think the question “Why are things bad” has been thoroughly and fully examined. And I think we know what the right thing to do is, but it’s almost like we’re at a stand of. I won’t be nice to other until everyone is nice to me. Well that’s dumb. I’m just going to keep on doing responsible things the fun way and not really get to worried about how chores. I know why I do more chores in the relationship. I do more chores because I’m home more and he works more so he can pay more so I can stay home more and pursue my creative endeavors. So I guess in taking on more of the work load I’m saying thank you to my partner in supporting me. And by forgiving me when I forget to do the chores because I got caught up writing a particularly juicy story, he’s supporting me in being an artist. All I need to survive is love. After that it’s just for fun.