Monday, February 09, 2009

Om mani padme humdrum

I probably should not admit this on a public blog that my husband reads (hi, honey!), but I find certain forms of housework to be rather relaxing. Some chores I merely enjoy in a sort of grim, abstract way. For instance, I enjoy sweeping the floor in that it feels nice to have a clean floor when I'm done, but not in the sense that I actually like sweeping the floor. However, there are other chores that I find truly meditative.

I always focus best when I'm doing two things at once, which I suspect can be blamed on my ADHD. For instance, when I was in high school, I usually did my homework in my room with the TV on, and in college if I was studying the stereo was playing. I don't know how to say it in any kind of medical or scientific way, but it feels to me like the ADHD part of my brain can focus on the distraction, leaving the rest of my brain to get on with things. If I don't have a distraction, the ADHD part is roaming around, listening for one, which means I get distracted by everything, including the absence of things. Yes, I can get distracted by it being too quiet.

Anywho, the chores I enjoy the most are the ones that are easy and repetitive. While one part of my brain is sorting socks or drying spoons or washing plates, the rest is free to roam. I have written blog entries, composed emails and to-do lists, come up with things to say in difficult conversations, and pondered the state of the world while up to my elbows in clean laundry or dirty dishes. Back in the days when fiction seemed to come as easy as breath, I wrote entire passages while standing in my parents' basement, folding clothes. I'd run snips of dialogue and prose through my head, tweaking and refining, and then I'd go straight back to my room and write it all down. My very favorite pair of opening and closing lines used in a short story were born this way. I distinctly remember standing in front of the dryer and hearing them in my head clear as a bell.

I don't compose fiction as easily as breathing anymore, sad to say, but I still find laundry folding and dish washing to be a contemplative, peaceful time, so the two hours or so I spent conquering the dirty dishes this evening (usually MB's job) were rather relaxing. Of course, that doesn't mean I want to do it all the time (hi, honey!), and let's reiterate that I don't find all household tasks delightful. I have never once had a profound thought while cleaning the bathroom or scooping cat poo, just for the record.

Reading:  Terrier by Tamora Pierce

Playing:  Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette


  1. I LOVE to iron clothes. On Saturdays, I would ship the kids out to play, turn on the radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera and iron a week's worth of clothes.

    You're right about the cat poo.

  2. man, i WISH i found doing dishes relaxing. these days the only way it's bearable is if i can crank up the television really loud or if I can listen to This American Life on the radio.

    p.s. my word verification is "wishin"

  3. Um, do you want to come over to my place?

    I do the 'multitasking' thing as well - I always have music on when I'm working. Don't know if it helps, but it certainly makes things more interesting!