Saturday, February 21, 2009

Social Engagements and a Neglected Apartment

I'm the type of person who really needs a balance between the social and the anti-social. In addition to a slew of college-entrance exams, and in the hopes of somehow finding the magic cure to not knowing who we were, a whole host of personality tests were administered to us during our formidable teenage years. The lack of accuracy of these tests is best demonstrated by the experience of a friend of mine. She took a lengthy test that was meant to pinpoint careers that fit her personality. Her result? Mortician. What has she really done? She's traveled the world, lived in dozens of places, and works in marketing. In my own case, no test was ever able to tell me whether I was more inclined to be around people or whether I was better on my own.

Last week was the classic example of this carefully crafted equilibrium being entirely thrown for a loop. For about five or six days running, I was rarely home. Each day, I had a different social event to go to and different people to meet. The engagements ranged from a small birthday dinner for a close friend to a surprise party where I had been asked to appear as a pilgrim for the guest of honor. Two things resulted from this: exhaustion and a very messy apartment.

I live in a one-bedroom apartment. Even in its cleanest state, it still is small. The morning after my last social event, I woke up with barely a clear square foot on my floor or a clear place to sit on my couch. In the interests of getting to work on time, I forwent contemplating the state of the place. I turned on the car--a must-do for us in northern New England, I got dressed, I made coffee. I was half a minute away from walking out the door to head to work when the phone rang.

It was my landlord. I had announced about three weeks before that this would be my last month in this apartment. After a long search, I found a new place that addressed some of the shortcomings of my current living space. He said he was going to advertise the apartment, and he would let me know if anyone wanted to see it.

And someone did. That afternoon.

Suddenly, I had an "Oh, shit" moment on my hands. I hardly knew what to do. The apartment was in no state to be shown by anyone's imagination, unless the purpose of the visit was to feature it on a TV show with a "don't try this at home" theme. I had no choice but to call my boss and explain that I would be late.

I spent two and a half hours cleaning. You wouldn't think that you would need that kind of time for a one-bedroom place, but it had devolved to such a state that under normal circumstances, I probably would have divided the work over several days. You also notice several things that would have passed before, but to the landlord's eye, may have been signs of a bad tenant. In order to get this done, I actually had to change back into what I wore to bed--not wanting to wreck a nicely-put together work outfit. Because of an ambitious plan to clean up a classroom at work, my broom and mop were not present, so I had to use a brush and dustpan to get the bits and pieces off of the tile in the kitchen, and then, pull out a replacement sponge for the mop I didn't have and clean the floor on my hands and knees. I didn't stop the whole time, and I probably dropped about 5 pounds in the process.

In the end, for the first time, the apartment looked like a showplace. The landlord noticed nothing amiss. And, I had a whole lot more time this weekend to myself than I had originally planned for.

I probably wouldn't have turned out to be the "spontaneous" type if there had been a test for that.

13 comments:

Anais Anais said...

I enjoyed your story of the one bedroom apt. in yoru other blog. an how you had to fix it on short notice from your tenant. But, I miss the lack of entries in tour sleepy moments blog, which you have discontinued. I once lived in Acton,MA. Brrr!!! I cannot stand the extreme weather. This is a few silly-nothings comment. I thank you for being the only visitor to my dreams blog. Really.
Much appreciated.

It's Me! said...

Been there, done that. I consider frantic cleaning to hide a mess from the landlord to be a right of passage.

Also, my personality evaluation determined that I would have a dazzling career as a "Puppeteer", or "Street Performer". I hear busking can be quiet lucrative, however I can't imaging a highschool guidance councellor advising an impressionable teen girl towards striking out on her own to the streets of Vancouver or LA to persue a career as a statue that only moves for money. Everything with a grain of salt, I always say!

M@ said...

Damn. My apartment's finally coming together after FIVE YEARS. Time to move.

gagknee said...

i rented a house once that was super cheap and was right on a pond. the only caveat was the owners vacationed at the house for a month in the summer so i had to move out during that month. the frantic cleaning that would go on before that event was epic. in one word it sucked.

Passionate Eater said...

You definitely rose to the "sudden" occasion! I too am a little disorganized when a lot of events are going on in my life. I am sure your new apartment will be the perfect fit for you.

AZ said...

Be an INTJ. You don't socialize, therefore obviating the need to clean a neglected, messy apartment. INTJs UNITE!

And those job-determining personality tests are bullshit. Mine repeatedly told me I'd be a good psychologist. I love psychology and the study of the brain but if I had to deal with and hear people bitching about dumb shit I woulda lost it.

Kat said...

I once had a landlord who showed up with a couple to view our apartment...during dinner. While I was in my pajamas. AWESOME. What is it with the lack of call-ahead?!

Jule said...

I'm constantly picking up and cleaning - the sad thing is, it's never like your clean apartment with nothing amiss. There's too much amiss in my amiss world

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A good apartment story there!

Phoenix said...

nice.. just remember one thing... we don't live in a perfect world.. so why should my apartment be perfect :) :)

Jule said...

where did you go? I like your blog

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Hello there....
It's been a while - how are you keeping?

You may nor see this for a while... hmm, anyway I leave it up to the Universe

May I have some interesting nature or other "interesting" photos from your travels?
Like to have some...(ASAP- yesterday...)
Working on a project and would like to incorporate pics from around the world into painting for international exhibit...

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