‘One man’s creativity is another man’s vermin problem,’ says Miranda McMinn
Have you ever taken a toaster and shaken it violently upside down over a perfectly clean work surface? No? Neither have I, on the basis it would be an act of lunacy. yet that’s what each member of my family seems to do pretty much every time my back is turned. a coating of crumbs appears miraculously, as if the kitchen is one giant chicken escalope. sometimes I return home to find the crumbage has seemingly arrived without anyone being in the house (until I find my oldest has “popped” back from school for lunch – and given me a little tidy-up job to add to my arduous workload. aww, thanks love!).
In the hierarchy of my household, I feel like the role I perform is one of Jackson Pollock’s studio assistant, who clears up just to create a clean canvas for the Master (or Mistress – I have three daughters) to work their magic upon.
Mess is not creative – it’s a lifesapping force that every day is draining me further of the will to live. “a tidy house is the sign of a wasted life” is not just irritating, it is fake news. because tidiness is merely the sign of a home that’s not facing an imminent visit from Rentokil. one man’s creativity is another man’s vermin problem.
this brings me to the fridge, which in our house, unless I perform a thricedaily audit, is like opening the door onto a Hieronymus bosch painting. there are suffering souls hiding behind jars that someone refuses to throw away as there might be a nanogram of jam/marmalade/mayonnaise left. the taramasalata (full of toast crumbs, naturally), is teetering with its lid half off on top of a sachet of bbQ sauce “saved” from the last visit to McD’s.
the theme of teetering piles carries through quite nicely to the cupboards, where anyone who empties the dishwasher that isn’t called Miranda McMinn artfully arranges a dinner plate on top of a cereal bowl, both balancing on an egg cup; while behind another door a grater stands on an upside-down cake tin within a half-size baking tray.
It’s like a GCsE art group is about to turn up and start drawing it for a still life. “For goodness sake, round things go with other round things – is it so hard?”
My family think shutting a door is an uneconomical use of energy, on the grounds that soon you will have to open it again. Ditto drawers. Meanwhile on the shelf, light bulbs and batteries await the miracle of resurrection – so don’t even think about throwing them away.
and I haven’t even got out of the kitchen. Don’t get me onto coats piled on banisters and shoes hurled into corners in the manner of a giant charity shop. I feel like sisyphus, forever labouring to push the rock up the hill for it to roll back down again. For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is to sit and survey a tidy room.
the odd thing is that the brief period when I lived alone, I wasn’t perfect. I still had odd socks, washing-up left undone, a bit of dust on a pile of books. and, tragically, I wasn’t very creative either!
so maybe I’ll just put up with my bunch – even if all that they’re creating is a big bloody mess, and all that
I’ve created is them.