“Can I ask you a reasonable question?” I asked Alice the other day.

“I guess,” she answered skeptically.

Skepticism was probably justified in this situation. Were I to die today, a top contender for my epitaph probably wouldn’t be, “he asked reasonable questions.” Plus, when a potential question is prefaced like that, one can kind of worry a bit, it you know what I mean.

Undaunted, I plowed ahead.

“Why is a pair of shoelaces tied together and hanging on the towel rack in the bathroom?”

In my mind, this was a reasonable question. This particular item had been dangling in the bathroom, presumably drying, for some weeks now… possibly months. If the intent of having them hang there was for them to dry, then by any measure in nature, they should not be as dry as they were ever going to be.

“Oh yes, those are the laces I use to tie the towels onto the refrigerator, and I forgot about them,” she fessed up.

Surely the 1/4″ of space these things were taking up in the bathroom was not worth making an issue about, but I think they point out how different people are wired. I, you see, am wired to see clutter. Alice is wired to see dirt. When I walk in from a project, and some detritus from outside falls off of me, it doesn’t seem too important in the scheme of things. But if a letter sits unopened on the dining room table for several days, my mind starts swirling:

“Isn’t she curious what’s in there?” “What if I need to solder something on that table someday… will there be room?” “If something isn’t done soon, that letter will still be there next month!” And so on.

I am not impervious to dirt. As I’m walking by, if a large clump of dog hair presents itself, I’ll often scoop it up and toss it into the woodstove. I don’t see that clump of dog hair as a sign that I need to get the vacuum cleaner out though. I wonder if I’d even know how to turn the darn thing on.

Leave a Reply