I visited some homes today. A tour. Most of them were as expected. Neat. Tidy. But there were some that were a glorified compendium of stuff. There were the things that we were supposed to be looking at: art, collections, and sculpture. But in some of the houses, there were also, proudly displayed, indications that real people lived there. Assorted Legos. The lunch dishes. Stacks of magazines. Dog bowls. Pots and pans. A bowl of half eaten cereal.

The hosts in these homes seemed just fine with the tourists seeing the way they lived. They seemed proud as could be of the daily detritus that was on display along with their temple rubbings, ceramic vases, and framed lithographs. They proudly showed us around their houses. Where they actually LIVE.

I am not like this. I live in fear that someone will come over and notice the grit along my baseboards, or the dog toy under the coffee table. I worry that I might forget to put a clean towel in the powder room. I vacuum everything. Twice.

My house doesn’t reflect who I really am. The person I really am–the person who leaves the Apple Butter on the counter all the time, because I use it every morning. I am the person who has a pair of shoes in every room. I stack things on the stairs to take to the second floor, but I walk upstairs past them for weeks. I leave my coffee cup in the sink until dinner. I change the sheets once a month, whether they need it or not.  This person–the real me–it’s a person that nobody knows. God forbid you might just STOP OVER. Because that would entail a frenzy of last-minute tidying before I would open the door, and I might break a leg in the process. NO. If you are invited to my house, I have to clean first. And thus, I am not often a hostess.

Life would be so much easier if I could open up and be me. Dustballs, overflowing wastebaskets and all. It would be so freeing, so Bohemian. I could maybe even wear different clothes: a caftan, or perhaps leggings as pants.

It all sounds great. Turning over a new leaf. I think I might try this. I’ll start small. Maybe have someone over and not empty the wastebaskets. Or just invite a neighbor inside without first checking to see if all the toilet seats are down.

Never mind. The real me just had an anxiety attack. Call before you stop in.

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