the inquisitive one

The inquisitive one woke early in the morning and realized something very important. Today was the day to clean house!

A whirlwind of activity ensued. Magazines and newspapers were taken out of the house and stacked intricately together, like Tetris pieces, in the enormous blue recycling bin. Laundry was done, even the nasty, sweat-wicking running apparel that had been lying in a corner of the bathroom for weeks. Clean clothes never worn were folded and placed in bags for charity. Dishes were done. The kitchen was scrubbed until every surface shone.

At one point, the inquisitive one even licked a finger and rubbed a spot of wall that looked discolored. Lo and behold, the spot’s color softened and blended into the surrounding color!

The whirlwind of activity stopped about four hours later, when the inquisitive one put on some clean and dry running clothes and jogged over to my house.

My doorbell rang, and I went to the door.

“Hey,” I said to the inquisitive one.

“Today is the day to clean house!” announced the inquisitive one, with excitement.

“You stink,” I told the inquisitive one. Indeed, the running apparel had wicked up a great deal of sweat during the interval between the inquisitive one’s house and mine. This was visible in the armpit areas, torso, and more nether regions. It was also apparent through my olfactory sense.

The inquisitive one pushed past me into my house. I stepped back to minimize touching the running gear.

“Your house is a mess!” proclaimed the inquisitive one. “Look at your floor! Look at your piles of books and dishes and junk mail! Today is the day to clean house!”

“Um,” I calmly pointed out, “today is definitely not the day to clean house. Today is actually my birthday! Besides, they call it ‘spring cleaning’ for a reason—it’s still winter!”

“You call this winter?!” said the inquisitive one, gesturing toward the flourishing daffodils outside.

“Well, . . . good point,” I said.

“Today is the day to clean house!!”

“Okay, you are my friend, and I need to tell you something. I have not been well. I am suffering from a concussion. I am suffering from anxiety related to having a concussion, along with lingering anxiety from a long-ago arm injury. I have eight, count them, eight, doctor appointments scheduled for this week alone. In fact, one of these doctors informed me last week that I have PTSD! And you want me to somehow, in the midst of all this life chaos, and on my birthday nonetheless, clean my house?!!

Today is the day to clean house!!!!” And with that, the inquisitive one bounded out my door and jogged off in the direction of the nearest forest.

“Geez, with friends like that, who needs doctors?” I wondered.

And then, stubbornly, I sat on my couch amidst all the other junk on it, and cycled through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, until my head hurt.

And then, begrudgingly, I cleaned my toilet.