Friday, January 23, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: The Expert's Guide to Laziness


I come from a long line of women who would rather read than clean. Isn't that everyone you say? No, it is not. One of my aunts who married into the family does not own a single book - not one! - and her house is spotless. As an in-law she suffers with the family's laissez faire attitude about clutter, and she is not the suffering in silence sort. As hard as it might be to believe, there are women (and men!) who would rather mop floors and organize the pantry than read a book or a magazine or a blog. There are even some who find it hard to sit still when there are things to do. 


Gentle reader, might you be one of these women? Might you suffer agonies at others' homes when you notice the dust coating on every wooden surface? Do you fight the urge to rip off those decades-old cartoon-clippings and bent school photos and expired coupons to reveal the fridge? Do you run into the bathroom and scream into a hand-towel when your friends' small children leave toys strewn across the floor - and the mother just sits there? 


Well suffer no more! I am here to teach you, in just four easy steps, how to embrace that inner slug. I know you have it in you. If you dig down deep you can relinquish the need for clean and discover that sticky, cluttered mess that lurks within. 


First of all, what do you drink? Not diet Coke silly: we're all friends here. What would you drink if you could be three sheets to the wind without some small person dying? That drink is what you need. Do you have to be sober? Then make something hot: a good hot cocoa or apple cider or tea. Do NOT brew coffee; this will have debilitating ramifications in about half an hour, when you find yourself cleaning the fan blades and sobbing "I just couldn't say no!" Don't let that happen to you. 

The best option, of course, is a hot toddy. 


Now, lazy weather can be one of two options. First, it can be broiling hot. We Southern girls understand why the South has a reputation for laziness: NO ONE goes dashing about with a duster when it's 100 degrees in the shade and so humid that your glasses fog up. The humidity is a crucial element. Y'all from out west cannot imagine how hot 90 degrees can feel when the humidity is 85%. That's why the heat index is what we check in the morning, not the actual temperature. When the heat is this bad, cleaning is hazardous to your health unless you can afford a gargantuan electric bill. So go ahead and wilt, preferably on a cushioned porch swing holding a mint julep.  

The second option, which might be more applicable for readers in January, is freezing cold. This is a relative term, by the way. Savannah closes down when there's a possible chance of sleet 40 miles north. Moreover, some of us simply cannot stand the cold. In DC I was basically catatonic for four months out of the year; it took at least 15 minutes just to put on all those layers of clothing. So you Michigan people can trudge in the snow all day long and feel proud of yourselves, but the rest of us will bundle up under an electric blanket when the thermostat says 30. 


Third, consider the worst that could happen. What if you DON'T do the next thing on your list? Did someone die? No? Well then. 


Find something you like to do that involves sitting. No judgement here: I've found ceiling fans riveting at the end of a long day. Knitting is an option if you absolutely must be industrious at every waking moment, but why? That's what Netflix is for. Pets are great for this, by the way. Only cold-hearted witches can push a sweet cat or dog off their laps. 

Happy Friday y'all! Be sure to check out the rest at This Ain't the Lyceum

** On a completed unrelated note, I didn't manage to get this published until after 5 p.m. even though I wrote it yesterday. Also, I took Benadryl last night - for allergy reasons this time - and had an even worse time getting up. Apparently this is my Friday tradition, and my work hours are late, which keeps me from improving myself. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.


  1. Agh. I have such a hard time getting going in the morning if I take Benedryl at night. . . . I'm torn on the cleaning thing. It's hard for me to sit and relax if there's clutter around. Well, until I get so tired I just don't care anymore. Or once I'm in bed for the night; then I can finally relax. But cleaning--like, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing, wall and window washing--I find it really hard to care about that stuff. And I hate doing it.

    1. Window washing? Lol my windows wouldn't know what was happening if I actually sprayed glass cleaner on them.

  2. Oh, boy, you know what you are talking about re humidity. I don't have to look at the weather report to know when the humidity is rising - I just have to notice that I suddenly feel about 100 pounds heavier and the simplest task seems unsurmountable. HUMIDITY.

    1. HA! Yep, I do get humidity. I've spent most of my life in south Georgia or central South Carolina, and Washington DC was the least humid place I've ever lived (the natives complained about the humidity constantly. I laughed).

  3. I'm with you and I'm not. I find it hard to sit still unless I'm doing something while sitting, but reading totally counts as "doing something" in my book! So I'm always running around, trying to clean things up, but I still feel like my house is a wreck. It will never, ever be spotless. ("How do you keep it clean?!" people ask when they visit our house. "I don't!" is the honest answer.) And I find that so stressful. My fantasy is sitting still with an adult beverage (gin & tonic for me!) -- but in a clean room. Sigh...

    1. It's funny to me how we all have different definitions of "clean," which is probably why people comment on how "clean" your house is. (Maybe they also mean it's clean given the presence of three little boys ;)

      Personally, I cannot stand it when things are "clean" but not really. Like when dishes are put away from the dishwasher but they aren't really clean, and somehow the person putting them away didn't notice. I also have a thing about bathrooms: I share a bathroom with men and customers at work and am constantly cleaning it. And even some people's personal bathrooms at home are gross when they allow guests over. My floor may still have clutter on it, but if someone's going to use my bathroom it damned better be sparkling.

  4. As much A I LOVE to read, I do have that bit of OCD about cleaning. I can ignore it sometimes, though :)