Fresh from my folder titled “Hey, get off my lawn!” comes this little ditty.
Food and Wine online just published a survey by Yelp that quizzed 2,000 Americans (with partners) about which household chores they despised the most. Let me just set this up by saying that according to the survey a chunk of participants went so far as to say that they hated these chores so much that they would give up drinking or sex if they never had to do them again.
And let me also add that this is 2019, people. This is not 100 years ago when days were long and hard with no air conditioning and all meals made from scratch. These chores involve mostly being inside a climate-controlled building, aka your house, with no real threat to life or limb:
1. Washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen
2. Doing laundry
3. Cleaning the bathroom
4. Sweeping and vacuuming
5. Cooking meals and grocery shopping
Oh. Mah. Gawwwwd. Y’all. You mean stacking dishes in a machine that cleans them is worthy of you giving up your martini for the evening? Seriously? Sweeping a broom around the corners and running a damp sponge over your granite counters fill you with that kind of despair? And laundry, yes, the hours, the days, of back-breaking labor it entails, dumping a basketful of dirty clothes into yet another machine that delivers them sparkling clean and generally situated next to another machine that tumbles them dry—tortuous! Cleaning the bathroom? I mean, how long does that actually take? How long to use a long-handled scrubber to shimmy around the toilet bowl? 30 seconds? A couple of minutes? And if it takes longer than that, maybe cut back on your intake of Sloppy Joes, just sayin’. Look, I despise cooking but if Paul wasn’t in my life I’d be eating sammiches three times a day and be perfectly happy. It’s not like I have to go out and grind the flour and bake the bread and churn the butter.
Our ancestors are rolling at warp speed in their graves at our faint, weary hearts walking behind self-propelled vacuums over rugs when they had to roll them up, hang them over a fence and beat the dust out of them. Hard work, that, but paid off in spades to get rid of bingo wings. Thinking back to not only those who settled this country but to those currently living in different regions of the world, I’ve come up with a list that’s appropriate for their daily lives:
1. Finding access to clean drinking water
2. Chasing down your rogue plow mule
3. Doing laundry. On a pile of rocks. In a river
4. Digging another well after your first one dries up
5. Sweeping away the rubble from the latest bomb blast
Bet they’ve never tasted a martini before, either.
At the risk of sounding outrageously sanctimonious, if the first set of chores cause so much misery and in-fighting within relationships, we’re in deep trouble. When did we get so soft? So spoiled? When I think of the women who had no right to vote or achieve higher education, marrying for survival, having to bear a multitude of children to help work the farm (“You just bought another 40 acres? Great, just great. Alright, give me a second, I’ll be right there.”) and the men who chopped wood and built their cabins with their own hands…I shake my head with wonder.
Sometimes, particularly after my second martini, I muse over whether or not we could survive a nationwide catastrophe. For example, had a Cat 5 hurricane churned over America, instead of the Bahamas, for 36 hours obliterating everything, or if our power grid was knocked out by a cyber attack and we had no access to electricity for weeks on end in the middle of winter, how many of us would survive? How many of us have basic survival skills to find food, heat, shelter? I actually saw a movie about that and the answer is we didn’t, and Helena Bonham Carter had the biggest attitude of any ape I’ve seen. But the point is, the point is...
I forgot. Gotta go do laundry. Sigh.