Hey guys. I’m still in unpacking craziness over here, moving into our new house, so I decided to post this little piece I wrote one day a little over two years ago. It’s one of those ditties I never published and just wrote for the fun of it. You know, like the other hundred of these I have in the notes on my phone…
So, let’s rewind back to the spring of 2016, shall we?
I’m alone in the house for an extended period of time for the first time in years. I just dropped Ellie at preschool and it’s a Thursday. She goes to school Mondays and Wednesdays too, but I do a lot of out-of-the-house things those days; you know, grocery shopping, workout, post office stops, and all the other little things that keep our household running on a daily basis. Today though, for the first time in forever, I’m at home and the world is my oyster so I take a moment to wonder what in the world I’d like to do with this precious time.
Self, I say, what would you like to do?
I expect myself to answer that I’d like to read a book or go for a walk but instead I’m stunned to learn that I think I’d like to clean. I’m skeptical…come again?
But before I even know what I’m doing, I head to the bedroom and strip the sheets off the bed. I see the lint, dust and hair all over my upholstered headboard and realize I’ve never cleaned this once. Not once because in order to do so, I’ve basically got to lay strips of scotch tape across the whole mass and pull up as much crap as I can and it will take a very long time. I just can’t believe I don’t even have a lint roller for this stuff. I take note of the folded piles of laundry on the table that have sat there so long they’ve all fallen together into one big mound, all leaning on the stack next to it for support. I remember the clothes two sizes too small in each of my girls drawers that I keep reaching past each morning, taking up space and wondering why the hell they are still in there.
I become aware that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is not playing on the TV and that I can listen to whatever I want. So I turn on my Sonos and blast a 1990’s Pandora station like a boss. The room is filled with he sound of Sublime’s Santeria. Perfect. I gather up all my towels and throw them into the wash with the sheets. I run it on hot, stopping briefly to mouth the, “I’ve got something for his punk ass,” line. Next up is Two Princes by the Spin Doctors, and I’m organizing laundry like I’m doing something enjoyable. I’m singing out loud. I’m actually not even in my laundry room. I’m driving down Topanga Canyon in the San Fernando Valley listening to Star 98.7 with my mother. No one outside of LA knows Ryan Seacrest yet and he’ll DJ for this station for the next few years. He’ll plug this new hot restaurant, PF Changs, an awful lot. I crank the volume even louder for good measure.
By the time Crash comes on, I slow my pace. I’m matching one hundred thousand socks and it’s taking a while but the song has transformed my mood. I’m in high school drinking red wine with my friend, Cristina. She drinks it when she visits her family in Costa Rica and tells me about how sexy and sophisticated it is. We paint our nails, nurse our one and a half glasses, and listen to Crash on repeat for hours. We don’t get tired of it. I don’t get tired of it today either. I’m rolling socks together neatly and tight, slow and methodical. I wish the song was the live version so I could sing about dixie chickens and Tennessee lambs, but that will have to wait for another day. At the end of the song, most of the socks don’t have matches. Wtf?
The Cranberries join me.
Oh my life, is changing every day, in every possible way…
I know all the lyrics despite having not heard this song since the eighth grade. It makes me think of Mac lipstick in Viva La Glam. I remember exactly how it smells. It’s tied to awkward memories like when I wore nude panty hose with my dress for middle school graduation.
Today I learned how to time travel while cleaning house. Here’s the thing, if you decide to do this too, you must play Pandora or a radio station in a genre you like. It can’t be your playlist because you need to be surprised by the songs for it to work. For it to remind you and surprise you at the memories it brings up. That’s how you lose yourself while folding socks and come back to find all the work is done. It’s magic.