(After 12 weeks of an itinerant life of house/pet sitting, I am heading back to home-base later today. And, I am an entirely new person. Again.)
I’m busy laundering sheets and cleaning the bathroom(s) and vacuuming (more on that to come) and – essentially, as one does when leaving a home one has sat – erasing myself. Here is a beautifully composed, quite literate and emotionally honest summary of what house-sitting can sometimes be by poet, Brian Blanchfield. I came across it quite by accident a few days ago when I was considering writing a lengthier piece about the back and forthing and borrowing of lives I have done this summer; but I don’t need to (and can’t, really) write that RIGHT now, because – well, no difference, no matter: Read Brian Blanchfield’s piece (click here) called “On Housesitting”.
All this wandering, it’s been exhausting in ways I never imagined. Had I been told I would spend part of this decade of my life migrating from one to another of other people’s homes, I don’t think I’d have believed it. I rarely believed anything; well, not fully and not for long did I believe anything anyway. I think. I’m no longer sure. It seems now that I didn’t even REALLY believe the things I CLAIMED to believe. That, somehow, I knew even those tenets and definites and foundational things to which I swore loyalty, were, even as I swore, clearly temporary – ports in a storm, poses I knew to be poses – but, I needed something to hang onto.
You see, for much of my life, I have felt as if I’ve been waiting to become me. Or, at least, waiting to find a cohort with whom I could fully be me, and be appreciated, accepted, embraced, celebrated. Which isn’t to say I haven’t been loved and spent time with some wonderful people. Indeed, I have. I have been (and am currently) blessed by the people in my life. It is Me who has let me down.
Last night, while texting with a dear friend who commented on a post I’d written, saying she thought that Mondo and I would be a lovely pairing, I said I felt myself unworthy of Mondo. She answered: “But regardless of how you feel, you ARE Mondo worthy.”
I need to believe that. I don’t. Never have. And so, here I am, wandering from home to home, living in other people’s spaces with other people’s animals, tending to other people’s lives and envying other people’s vacuums. Because, yes, here in this home, the Miele Aquarius canister vacuum – if I could wed an inanimate object – I would propose to this vacuum. It is RIDICULOUSLY agile in getting at and under things, does marvels at collecting pet hair, is light and easy to operate and OH MY THE SUCTION! I love a good vacuum, I really, really do.
Which, as I was cleaning this morning – in particular the downstairs bathroom – in this – yet another of my friends’ homes which is regularly cleaned by someone hired to do so – I was shocked – SHOCKED I TELL YOU – by the accumulation of dust and grime on the baseboards, which clearly have not been wiped down in ages. I feel this to be an abdication of the duty of a house-cleaner. And it came to me, “Charlie, you should clean houses – you love cleaning.”
Now, there is dignity in all work. And I would be okay with house-cleaning; but, honestly … like house-sitting and loading websites and making feather hatbands and retrieving bread from industrial ovens and entering survey results and … all the other “waiting to be me” jobs I have done – which, apparently, are not “the waiting” but, rather, the Me – I mean –
I can’t finish. This. Or, really, well –