Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Domesticity, 2.0

I remember when I was first working after college. All of the sudden tasks like buying groceries, washing the dishes, doing laundry seemed impossible. What had previously been an escape, a convenient and practical way to procrastinate on that assignment or paper or research project was suddenly a leaden weight. When did people who worked 8, 9, 10 hours a day have time to do these things? After work I was deadened, only good to scrape together dinner and lounge. I didn't want to read or craft or do anything, especially no desire to leave the house. I'd been forced to interact all day long with people I didn't like and didn't want to see or talk to, but mandated by my work environment to do both.

It seemed a task of epic proportions to run laundry down the stairs or to the laundromat. Finding the energy to run to the neighborhood Kroger to buy soy milk, peanut butter, bread, it seemed seldom likely. I opted for a least-possible route, only washing dishes or doing laundry when there was nothing left to wear or use. I would scrape by on bread ends and cracker crumbs and scavenged food, just to have more time to spend alone, at home, freed from the constraints of other people's expectations.

Now that I'm underemployed, like a vast number of other Americans, I've become domestic-tastic. I cook, I clean, I bake, I scrub, I do laundry routinely. I arrange recycling. Admittedly some of the baking is trial-and-error testing for the bakery that's opening in the next few weeks. However, it is not unusual to spend a day buried under an avalanche of flour, dishwater, and cleaning products. I haven't yet alphabetized my bookcases, but I don't doubt that day is coming soon. Clothing is folded, or hung on hangers. The kitchen is approaching OCD orderly. I've been introduced to the power of the Swiffer and I chase dust bunnies of cat fur across the laminate floors.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. Is there another reaction to under-employ? I can't imagine just resting on the sofa with the television or the internet or a book. It's unfathomable.

Here's! To Domesticity! *clink clink* Now I'm going to eat home-made chili with home-baked whole wheat focaccia. *salut!*

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