But I think sports enthusiasts from Extreme Ironing to the Super Bowl would disagree. People love a good win. That’s what I figure is behind my most recent proclivity to pick up poop around the posts we frequent. Same instinct, different arena. Of course, I also think it’s the community-minded thing to do, but it also gives me a sense of achievement. The world is slipping fast into, if it’s not already entirely in the toilet. There’s no need to allow the excrement of our furry family members to exacerbate the situation.
Perhaps it’s the same reason I use my section of paper towel, at home or in a public restroom, to sop up the water around the sink after I’ve washed my hands.
No, I don’t stop there. I also use it to wipe around other sinks and pick up towels strewn around the counter or by the door. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for full employment and somebody getting paid to clean up a facility – public or private – diversities of gifts being what they are – but the way I see it, I deserve a clean space whenever and wherever I am, even if I’m the one who must make it so. My Momma taught me that. Didn’t yours?
Knowing this is what prompts me to ask the question I ask myself nearly every time I catch myself in the act of ‘straightening up’ some random place far from the home office that could definitely do with a ‘woman’s touch’: Why am I willing to clean up behind myself and others while others are simply willing to make and leave a mess? Don’t they feel they deserve clean spaces and feel equally capable of creating them? Or is it that I’m simply not afraid of being mistaken for The Help? Admittedly, I may have an advantage here as I’ve had a lifetime of practice being both mistaken for and employed in that category. Harvey Jackins had a wonderful answer to each such question. But that could easily be the subject of a whole ‘nother blog.
Is it because my father inculcated the value of service or because Marian Wright Edelman – my other hero – says, Service is the rent we pay for living, and I believe her?
Who’s to say. One thing I know for sure, there’s certainly enough poop to go around and enough people who need a sense of accomplishment and a shoring up of self-esteem. Because as an educator (or simply someone awake in the world) I am painfully aware of this, in all my cleaning, I make sure to, as grad school Lori once said, caustically I might add, leave some for Jesus, I always leave a spot or two for someone else to notice and take charge of. I always leave room for another’s win. Nature fills a vacuum. As creatures of nature, much in our experience would shift were we mindful of how we’re creating and filling each vacuum.