Chores I used to despise are starting to have some real appeal. Suddenly, ironing shirts and scooping dog poop have become enlightening experiences. But when I try to explain my appreciation for these kinds of activities to others, they either get put off or simply take off.
When did I start to find such personal fulfillment in household chores? And what do I possibly hope to gain by regaling others with my experience of these trivial tasks?
I found myself in this situation a few days ago, when talking in a group of friends. We were taking turns describing recent moments of happiness. After hearing stories of exotic trips and adventurous outings, it was finally my turn to speak.
I chose to describe, in great detail, the manner in which I pick up my dogs’ poop, and why it brings me joy and a sense of accomplishment. I demonstrated my double scoop method, my cross-canvassing reclamation pattern and my bend-at-the-knees execution. I described how all three dogs follow me closely and watch with quiet appreciation. I explained how my dogs deserve a clean home field and how it brings us all a moment of sparkling success until the next droppings begin to fall.
My four friends scattered like frightened mice. It was similar to last week when I demonstrated the intricacies of ironing one of Sherry’s silk blouses that has both lace and decorative buttons. Few men outside of the dry cleaning profession can master such a feat. My audience was not awed but thought me rather odd.
Yesterday, I found it happening again: I was in the middle of vacuuming the living room and caught myself taking great pleasure in how I could get the rows of nap to line up in exactly the same direction. I almost called a fastidious friend to describe this accomplishment, but thought even he might begin screening my calls.
This is what I’m learning about my changes in attitude and behavior. As I age and mellow, I have found, in deep recesses of my mind, ways to accept and enjoy tasks that used to annoy me. Now I bring to these duties the same zest and desire to perform that I did years ago when I was doing more outlandish or edgy stuff.
I can accept this. But maybe I should keep the details to myself.