Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why I distrust your neat house

Am I the only person who feels like the neat people of the world are weird? They are weird and seem sneaky. Like they are hiding their personality.

I like to know what is going on. I like to use my brain. When I meet someone I look at how they are dressed, how they talk, what they order, how they comb their hair, and the like.

I, like everyone else, am trying to figure out who I am dealing with. They say you can't judge a book by it's cover but we can only judge a person by the data they give us to work with. Wear a pro-Obama pin? I think you are a democrat. Romney pin? Republican. Is it right? No. But it is right enough.


Black? Democrat.
Country? Republican.
White working class male? Republican-ish.
White college educated male? Democrat.
Women? Democrat.
Wearing a cross? Republican.
In the North East and wearing a crucifix? Democrat.
City? Democrat.

All of these are clues. The more clues the better a picture I can get. Less clues are less reliable.

My Uncle lives on a farm in central New York but is so left he is not even a Democrat. He is further left than the greens. A buddy of mine is a black atheist who supports Obama but is a registered Republican. He is voting against the religious right. These example are just in reference to politics.

Do you like rap music?
What about classic Rock?
Classical?
Punk?
Are you a reader?
Do you watch "Celebrity Apprentice?" I'm sure that is a real show.
Ever been on welfare?
Went to Catholic School?

All important data points to find out more about you. To know you. Your appearance says a lot.

What I am saying is that we all judge in an effort to know who we are talking to. Not to be jack asses (though we often are). Mostly to get an idea what is going on. To know about who you are.

Neatness. Coming from a messy person neatness is simply a deliberate attempt to conceal these data points. We messy people have to expend a lot of effort to make things neat. My question is why spend this amount of effort unless you have a greater motive? It seems like you neat people are hiding something. Putting it into a closet (where we keep our skeletons and homosexuality) out of shame or other diabolical motive.

Maybe I'm paranoid. Almost definitely paranoid, but my general point is still good.

In practical reality, what it does for me is offer less data points. It prevents me from understanding you. Since I am the kind of person who gains comfort from understanding things is makes me uncomfortable. I become ill at ease. I begin to wonder why you have so much time to clean?

What do you not do that I do?
What is missing?
How are you flawed?
And there is where I become negatively judgmental.

Then there is my house. I have to become embarrassed about my house. My home. What will you think? Will you think I am disgusting? A disorganized wreck? You obviously think cleanliness is an inherent good. Do you judge me as not good? Do you think I am a bad person?

Now, I cannot invite you over for fear of being judged as a bad person.

Here is how it is like the religious. You people (both groups) have decided upon an inherent good. That which makes one good and that which makes one bad. You, clearly, have decided that cleanliness is good. Neatness is good. The sin is the mess. I become defensive and a part of me will begrudge you. A part of me will resent you. Even if you have done nothing at all. You, by your own actions, have displayed a hierarchy of goodness. I can tell where I stand on your ladder. Low.
 I assume this is how fat people think about me when they eat out with me. I am fit. Overweight people probably think I am judging them and that I think they are bad people. I have had this conversation with many of my overweight friends. My very presence makes them begrudge me.

I guess this is a matter of apology to all my neat friends for not inviting them over or for behaving weird in their homes. Am I right? No. Well, maybe no. Maybe so.

Fat people who eat potato chips and fast food all day I judge. I try not to. I usually only judge when they ask me how to lose weight (like there is a trick). And usually after the third or fourth time they ask me.  I need to realize that they have chosen the sensation of taste and the satisfaction of the sense of fullness over fitness. I can't really argue, food is good.

In turn I hope that my neat freak friends only judge me when I ask for organizational advice. They should realize that I have chosen the freedom of eclectic and abstract thought over organization.

-Josh










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