Work is kicking my butt lately. So is microwaving sponges. You know what else has been keeping me busy? Setting out to prove that when you’re in a relationship, it’s more stressful to be the neat one than the sloppy one.
Apparently Suzanne Britt is the only person who’s tackled this topic, and her conclusions suck. Neat people are not lazier and meaner than sloppy people. I know that because I’m a neat person, and I am nice, reasonable and hardworking. And attractive. All I ask is that:
a) when I lay my head on my pillow at night, my kitchen counters be crumb-free
b) there be no garbage pail overflow
c) wet towels not be left on the floor
d) seasonal décor be banished to the basement in a timely manner
e) canned goods be alphabetized and sorted according to height
f) the clothes in the closet face the same way
Kidding! (About e.)
Now that you know all about me, let me tell you about how I suffer:
Me, at 9:00 p.m.: “Remember it’s garbage night, sweetie? I love you.”
Chuck: “I’ll do it.”
Me, at 9:45 p.m. “It’s getting late. Honey.” (Note the small increase in my stress level as the neat person who’d like to go to bed and know that all rubbish has been allocated to its rightful spot.)
Me, at 10 p.m.: “Shall I take out the garbage?” (Note the attempt of the neat person to remedy the situation. Also note that the neat person is starting to get pissed off.)
Me, at 10:01 p.m.: "You lazy, rotten piece of shit. I ask you to do one simple thing and you won't. What is wrong with you? Why won't you get up and just take out the garbage?"
Let’s pause here for the introduction of some crucial information: If I ask Chuck more than three times to do something, he actually starts adding hours to the ETC (estimated time of completion) of the task. Which means that if he was going to take out the trash at 10:15, he’s now going to wait until 11:15 p.m. just to make me suffer.
You think I’m kidding? There have been entire months where that man has pushed the garbage to the curb at 1 a.m. just to prove his point. Do you have any idea what it’s like to try to go to sleep knowing that your husband is sitting on the couch mindlessly dropping crumbs on the floor, not taking out the garbage just to mentally torture you? You: The nice neat person, the doer, the one who gets things done!
And do you know that after he’s done—finally!—taking out the garbage, he throws his pants on the floor—even though the laundry basket is sitting right next to it—before he climbs into bed? Then he has the nerve to immediately fall asleep.
Quick recap? Case study #1: Garbage night. Me: Ire-incited insomnia. Chuck: Unperturbed slumber.
This is my first installment of “The Woes of the Well-kept.” Tune in next time for Case Study #2: "Still pissed about Garbage night."
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.