Ever since the day I did nothing but read (“Why I Never Get Anything Done”), I’ve been making more of an effort to keep the house clean. It will never be Martha Stewart tidy, but I am going for... inoffensive. Since my house was clean, I was not alarmed by the drop-by visit of my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. I did want to make a decent impression on his girlfriend, who had not seen my house before, but I wasn’t worried about it.
As they called from the road about five minutes from my house, I collected the snow clothes that had piled up in the foyer. Well, actually, I made a path through the snow clothes... but I did carry some boots downstairs, and that is when I saw it.
There is no pleasant way to say this, so let’s just get it over with: It was cat vomit. Yes, I had cleaned it up days ago but had not taken care of the rather significant stain that was now glaring at me from its position by the bookshelf. I had probably passed it a dozen times in the last few days and each time I thought, “Oh, I need to get the carpet cleaner for that.” And each time I meant to go upstairs to get said carpet cleaner, and got distracted with something else and never got back to it. Now this stain was just so very there, and it couldn’t be anything else like an experimental rug Rorschach test and my guests were literally at the door.
At that moment, it all came clear. My focus was sharp. Time slowed down. And I placed on top of the stain... a book. Because when you read as much as I do, no one seems to question that there would be a book just lying around in the middle of your living room. “Why, yes, I was sprawled out there in the space between the bookshelves and the piano reading that book just before you arrived.”
I think that I’ve learned something from the experience, which I why I felt I should share this story. While the messy can get away with a lot, the readers can get away with more. And you should keep carpet cleaner on both levels of your house.
Oh, the book? The Shroud of the Thwacker, by Chris Elliott. Great title, funny read just like this entry.