Friday, December 18, 2015
Anxiety Makes People Clean Obsessively, scientists find.
Being anxious, stressful, may make people less slovenly. According to a new study, there's a link between anxiety and obsessive house cleaning...
-- Current Biology
All these years I thought I was irritatingly anxious, but now it appears I'm just irritating.
I like a clean house, sure, but more in theory than practice. I find no succor in sucking and sweeping things in that general direction. The process of cleaning, or thought of the process, fills me with ennui -- prone to one of those Parisian exhales, where the eye half-shutter and the lips flap. Of all forms of grease, I dislike the elbow-variety most of all.
Which is such a damn shame. I wish I wanted to do all the things I don't. Cleaning is but a small part of that package. I'd like to like to work at anything with great diligence. Practice to make perfect. Write like there's no tomorrow. Or at the very least, scrub stuff.
But as that's not the case, I have worked out a certain approach to house cleaning.
The window washing bucket sits outside a window, and I plant my industrial-sized shop vac in the middle of the hallway -- both stew in their own juices for a day or a week. The time line between product placement and product purpose proves somewhat variable. A stubbed toe in the middle of the night? Two? A bloody shin? One can't hang a specific date on such things, how much pain will evince a final call to action. But action will eventually occur.
When it does, kicking that cleaning show on the road requires caffeine. Lots of caffeine. Meth-identical quantities of caffeine. And after three or four hours of furious, barely conscious activity, I'm like, whoa, everything looks great, but what happened, where am I, what's my name?
Some people, highly intelligent people, too, get real satisfaction out of the act of cleaning. Maybe "highly intelligent " is the operative here, because I don't get it.
Shame eventually does the trick. Though for me, shame sets a high bar, one I can walk under time and time again without even ducking.
After spending the better part of the day polishing, uncluttering, mopping and so forth, things do look wonderful. Restful. And I think, you know, if I just did a few chores every single day, the process wouldn't be so monumental. But I never do, so it always is.
In a parallel universe, and there might be such a thing, I hope perfect me likes to do all that I haven't but should and don't. And as a bonus, hadn't done all that I have, shouldn't have, but did.