The Day I Learned to Clean My Room
It all started with a conversation at lunch with my fellow interns. The question on the importance of making one’s bed arose.
“I always make my bed,” said one. “Yeah, me too,” said another. I proudly and unashamedly proclaimed that I do not make my bed in the mornings.
Naturally this statement was greeted with gasps, raised eyebrows and shock amid the lunch table assembly. This was followed by judgment, shaken heads and non-negotiable instructions to make my bed from that day forward.
What then commenced was a long, philosophical discussion on the merits of making one’s bed and other forms of neatness and cleanliness.
My mother has tried with great determination to instil in me the importance of being tidy. Each morning I was greeted with her usual chorus of “Remember to make your bed”. I never saw the importance of it. “Why make your bed when it’s just going to get unmade all over again?” I would think to myself.
And so, very often, my bed was left with the duvet curled over and the pillows caved in.
To accompany this state of disarray, my shoes were left lying around the base of the bed, along with textbooks, CDs and magazines.
It was chaotic yet I was able to understand it and was secretly proud that I could navigate through the madness.
Fast forward ten years, and not much had changed—until one weekday afternoon I found myself frantically searching for my ID.
In my arrogance, I assumed it would be easy to locate, maybe lying under a particular pile of stuff (one of many such piles) on my bedside table. As it turned out, the ID book wasn’t there.
I began to poke my head into stacks of test scripts, newspapers and notebooks. I stumbled upon study notes, my motor vehicle owner certificate and even an envelope of catechism registration forms—but, alas, no ID book.
I then proceeded to tear apart my top shelf which rests above my cluttered closet. Needless to say, it was full of junk that I am too embarrassed to describe here.
Lastly, I decided to dig through every handbag that I own. There, in another dangerous corner of my room, was a pile of handbags, stacked one on top of the other. Each bag presented its own mystery but fortunately, after rummaging through old receipts and expired chocolates, I laid hands on that precious green identification document which was still intact in its plastic cover.
In the course of the search for my ID I also found batteries, old parish bulletins and even jewellery.
I paused and took a look at the room before me. My shoes were everywhere, the laundry basket was overflowing, and I could no longer explain even to myself what lay in all the piles of paper. It was wild and unbearable. I called it organised chaos, but most people simply call it a mess.
In a painful moment of humility, I arrived at the realisation that most teenagers and young adults avoid: which is to come to know that your nagging mother was right.
You should have listened when she told you to pull the covers, tuck them into the corners and fluff the pillows. You also should have listened when she told you to pack away your shoes and throw away things that are not needed.
But in my stubborn youth, I opted for paths that would lead me to lose my notes on statistics from first year, and even my matric certificate.
I will dust away the cobwebs with a mop and a broom. Yes, I think it’s time I cleaned my room.
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