I spent most of yesterday and a good part of today tidying and cleaning my flat so that I didn’t die of shame when the guy came to do the yearly check on the gas heaters.
Actually, some of it was necessary. He needs to check the outside vent and for the heater in my bedroom that means going into the garden, which means I had to
– clear the ivy from the vent, window and door frame
– clear the kitchen of empty wine bottles and generally clean up (I also washed the floor)
just so that he could actually do the job. Similarly in the lounge I tidied up the various stuff on the floor, hoovered and removed the stacks of old newspapers from the porch. (Incidentally this meant a big win for recycling this weekend)
It wasn’t practical to really clean the bathroom so I just made sure the door was shut. Also, I confess, some of my ‘tidying’ involved merely moving stuff temporarily under the stairs.
Part of what makes my flat look messy is that it’s really too small for me. You could also argue that I keep too much stuff and need to learn to ditch stuff I don’t need, but even so it’s too small.
It’s also untidy because I don’t have people around and sadly I don’t go to this effort for myself. But then again, as I’ve said to M. perhaps I don’t have people around because it’s so untidy. Egg-chicken. Chicken-egg.
Now, for a brief moment, it’s clean enough for the gas-man, which is also clean enough for good friends. It’s not good enough for less-close friends, acquaintances or family members. And of course there’s an even higher standard – it’s nowhere near clean enough for the landlord. It’s really his place at the end of the day, and look how bad I’ve let it get. That scares me actually. What will he say when he sees it?
So because of the way I live, the standards I have and who I chose to let come around, after a significant amount of effort cleaning up, by choosing carefully what’s allowed to be seen and by hiding a lot – I can get to the point where it’s good enough to let a total stranger or a good friend in. But not the landlord.
It’s like this flat is a metaphor for my life.