Life

Living inside out

March 18th, 2013…

Now if you have an imagination as warped and twisted as mine, that title presents a gory picture. I won’t go there. It was something that just popped into my mind as I was polishing the spare room. With the attendant visuals.

I have come to the conclusion that I live in a household of lunatics. Given that there are only the two of us, and one of us is a dog, it doesn’t say a lot for me.

It is after midnight, I’m wide awake and eating toast, largely because I felt odd. I realised I’ve been so busy I forgot to eat anything other than fruit today. And I have to share that with Ani. Being a strange animal she has a passion for bananas and pears. And chewing gum.

gum thief
gum thief

We have a running battle with gum… she’ll steal it, suck the minty shell off and leave me the gooey rest… unless I manage to confiscate it first. Not good for dogs, chewing gum. I’ve tried buying her mints instead but she prefers gum. Yes, I know… I mentioned lunacy, I believe?

Where was I? Oh yes…

I’m typing away, chatting to a friend in the US who is coming to the UK in Spring. We are plotting. The possibility of spending a few days together when we have had so little physical time before is a sheer delight. Every other time there have been another 30-odd people with us. So this is luxury. She is a sheer joy.

As usual she had me laughing out loud… which did not please Ani one bit, as I had my toe in her ear at the time. Not deliberately, I hasten to add. She had dragged her bed to my feet and curled up in it. As she is considerably warmer than my feet, it seemed like a good idea to bury my poor cold toes in her fur. I love warm fur on my skin. She, of course, snuggled up and I ended in the aforementioned ear invading position while she snored blissfully. Bursting out laughing woke her and earned me a severe glare.

You should see her now, snoring like a small steam engine, toes twitching and in a terribly undignified upside down position. Which is more or less where I started this train of thought.

We sort of do, don’t we. We get things all topsy turvy and don’t even realise it. My friend is coming down from the north of England for a few days. Not to inspect my house, run a finger through the dust or judge my housekeeping skills. He’s coming because we are friends. We will go places together, talk, eat, talk a heck of a lot more, and possibly demolish a bottle of wine or so.

Yet, here am I munching midnight toast having spent half the day with the duster in one hand, hoover in the other, hell bent on a mission to clean.

Now to some extent it is understandable. We make an effort make a guest welcome and comfortable.  Add to this natural concern for a guest what one could call ‘doorstep syndrome’ and you’ll get the picture.

As a Yorkshirewoman I was brought up in the ethos that regardless of what else you didn’t have, the doorstep must always be scrubbed and the lace curtains spotless. You could be as poor as the proverbial church mouse, but those two things were paramount. Second only to the fact that the kettle goes on as soon as anyone walks through the door.

Yet that sort of says it all.. it’s all about face. In all senses.

We, in our society, are unconsciously enslaved to appearances in so many ways. We don’t even see it half the time. Instead of realising what really matters and acting from the heart, with our own inner self shining out, we are cloaked in layers of ‘should’ and ‘ought’.

I’m not suggesting we all throw off convention and the social mores. They have both place and reason. But we could try living from the inside out and letting our heart extend a welcome to life and meet it halfway with arms open wide. When my friend goes home it will not, I hope, be the memory of a squeaky clean bathroom he takes away with him… but rather of a time of shared laughter, warmth and friendship.

4 thoughts on “Living inside out”

  1. Presenting a certain face to the world is important to people, Sue, and I think it is especially important to British people. We must always look like we are coping and nothing has upset us whether it be a death, the loss of a job, or a lessor thing like keeping our house clean. A good article.

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  2. My family is German but it is the same. We are judged by the cleanliness of our house at least by the older folk. I think our generation has realized there are so many other, better things to do with our time than constant housework. Sorry, I have books to write. xo

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