If you haven't figured this out by now, Gentle Readers, I'm kind of a jerk about certain things. One of the ways that I am a jerk is that I will judge you if you have a messy house. Or at least if you have a house that is messy when you invite me over.
I know, this is not very The Secret of me, and by judging you all I'm just attracting more judging into my life. But this is fine, because if I have a dirty or messy house, I want to be judged. I want you to come into my house, as my former boss Michael did when I was flat on my back from a disc problem, and say "ugh, I just cannot stand this room. I am cleaning this up."
Of course, who wouldn't like free maid service?
Talk to my friend Mindy June about the perils of having me as an overnight house guest. She's still mad that I gave her specific instructions on how to tidy up her house before I visited her in London, although she admitted to liking having the place in nice order. And for the record, she did a marvelous job - I felt like I was visiting an adult from one of those other generations that seemed to care about such things.
Mindy's own mother, may God rest her soul, was a neatnik like me, and since she was a dear friend of mine I now claim a certain amount of authority over Mindy not just in the area of general life management (a duty bestowed upon me by her dearly departed father) but now also in some of the areas her mother occupied, like household order.
(We will set aside for a moment the fact that I claimed this authority long before her mother justified it f0r me.)
As for other friends, well, I can only tell you that at least one of them has in so many words forbidden me from ever entering her apartment. And Mindy, trying her best to be sympathetic to my plight, just shrugged and said "well, it is you."
So why am I divulging all this now, Gentle Readers? Because Poor George and I made some new friends recently in San Diego. A very nice male couple, charming, good company, wonderful cooks and all around good people. We had met them at a dinner party several months back and invited them to our house for drinks and snacks, and then later to our house for a full dinner party of our own.
Last night they invited us over to their place for the first time so that we could hang out and order in some Thai food.
Neither one of our new friends is working right now, so I would have expected things in their apartment to be in better order. My parents, for all their crazy in other ways, had always taught me that you are to make your house presentable before someone comes to visit. It's a way of showing respect, of showing that you care enough about your guests' comfort and hygiene to take the trouble to pick up your shit and clear surfaces of obvious dirt and grime.
Our new friends' place had dust about an inch thick on all the furniture, and there were piles of crap all around. I did find several clear and available seating surfaces so I was able to sit down, but my personal comfort ended there. I could go on with more details about everything that bugged me about this apartment, but most of you are probably already cringing in horror at the thought of ever having me over, so I'll just leave it at that.
This kind of neglect to clean one's house a bit before having company is a phenomenon that seems to plague people of my generation and younger. As I already described, my parents and Mindy's parents were obviously of the belief that you must prepare for company. And as a youngster I do not ever remember visiting homes of family friends that were not in reasonable order.
What has happened to change the world this way? Maybe things were always like this and my parents just didn't associate with people who didn't hold similar beliefs.
After this display of shallowness I don't suppose that I'll be invited to many of your homes, Gentle Readers. I don't doubt any of you in your own right, but if my informal calculation of the statistics regarding messy versus non-messy is accurate, I'd have to guess that that about 75% of you don't prepare your homes to receive guests, at least not beyond moving piles of crap around so that people can have a place to sit down.
What say you, Gentle Readers?