2 June 2014

No More Pruning For You

Here’s my question. When do ‘cute little quirks’ stop being cute, and turn into full-blown middle-aged madness.

Yesterday I saw it in my Wingman’s eyes as he watched me prune a bush. There was neither judgement nor amusement, just the look of someone who had realised I probably shouldn’t be allowed to use a pair of pruning sheers.

My cute little quirk (problem) is that I hate stuff. I don’t think that there’s a name for people like me, but I consider myself to be an anti-hoarder, or the opposite of a packrat. I’m not nearly interesting enough to have my own reality sho, but it’s becoming a bit of an issue.

I can’t bear to have any non-essentials getting in my way. That goes for furniture, clothes, house wares, files, guests, make-up, words, and body hair. The only thing I like in excess is food and wine, and that’s because it’s temporary. Vacuuming? I can’t get enough of it. Same goes for weeding, getting unused contacts off my phone, and clipping my nails. If I can make it dissappear - I will!

It was sort of quirky and adorable when I had my first apartment. My friends would laugh about my minimalist approach to furnishing and the boxes of books I used as side table for almost a decade. Fast forward twenty years, and  my closet only has 36’ of hanging clothes. I can’t stand having clothing that hangs there for absolutely no reason. When I stop loving something, it has to go.  I also have a permanent donation bag on the go for the moment when something suddenly becomes loathsome. Every day is potential purge-o-rama.

I am particularly intolerant of anything that looks medical-y or bandage-y, and recently tore the house apart like a lunatic determined to get rid of reminders of illness. (This is slightly illogical since I have nipples coming up – but I’m anticipating a low maintenance recovery).

Buddha, and formerly round bush
At any point poor Jim might come home with a new something-or-other and place it timidly in front of me.  We both look at it. ‘Can you stand having it here?’ he asks. We look at each other and I counter with, ‘Do we need it?’ There is an uncomfortable silence as we each explore our levels of agitation.  And 8/10 times it goes back out the door. To me, the most beautiful sight in the world is a bare table, though flowers are okay.

This weekend I was enjoying cleaning up the small front garden. We have a jolly round yellow bush the size of a five year old, which had taken a beating over the winter. It was bulgy and misshapen and was leaning on my little Buddha. So I began my first foray into topiary. I cut of a few branches. And I cut of a few more. Delighted by the debulging,  I turned into Edward Scissorhands and began attacking the little bush in frenzy of blurred blades.  Every snip was wildly satisfying! I was so happy I could barely breath.

I was diving in for a final cut when a shadow fell over the bush and I looked up to see Jim standing over me. He stood for a moment with his hands on his hips. He looked at the once chubby bush, and I knew that what I had done no longer adorable. I’d crossed into madness territory, feeling thrilled and guilty all at the same time.  Jim looked at me as one might look at a child who’d just rubbed a bottle of ketchup into their hair.

‘Uh oh,’ he said, gently wrestling the sheers from my hands, ‘No more pruning for you.’