Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hoover my God to thee

Have you ever noticed how much like confession vacuuming is? You sit around, letting the tiny sins of dust collect on the carpet of your soul, and then one day you haul out the heavy equipment and get rid of them all in one roaring go. Fifteen minutes and your soul is as good as new. Of course, if you happen to do something really bad - like break a glass or spill coffee grounds all over the place, then you need to fix it right away, but for any sins less mortal you can get by with the occassional vacuuming. If you're the pious type you'll vacuum every week whether it looks like you need to or not - it'll be a kind of ritual. If you're like me then you'll wait until there's a real risk of someone coming along and declaring your room a health hazard, and then get the old Hoover out.

Of course, the thing with this is that you never know when people (like Death, for instance) may come to visit. If you're lucky, they'll show up right after you've finished vacuuming, so you'll be able to bask in the heaven of their appreciation, and pretend that you're one awesomely neat person. More than likely though, they'll show up unexpectedly just when you've been putting off cleaning up for a while, and then you'll stand around all embarassed, wishing you'd got to the task sooner.

Every time you finish vacuuming and look with pride at your scrupulously clean carpet, you think - this time I'm going to keep it this way. You promise yourself that you'll leap after every stray crumb, every piece of thread. You figure if you could just catch these things when they fall you wouldn't need to do all this cleaning afterwards. It never happens though - a couple of days later you'll be tired, you'll slack off, before you know it your room will be a mess and it'll be time to take out the vacuum again. The best thing you can do, in fact, is not even try, just go ahead and sin all you like and just make sure you clean up regularly.

Not, of course, that there aren't people whose floors aren't always spotlessly clean. These are the kind of irritating, saintly people who'll put in white carpets and then fuss over a 1 mm piece of lint that they discover lying in one corner. I have a lot of respect for these people, but on a personal basis I find them insufferable. That's why I don't even consider going to their house, even when they invite you.

And God? God is the one absolutely clean carpet lying in an abandoned room that no one is allowed to walk on. The one you need to take your shoes off even to come near. The one that nobody can really live with.

7 comments:

Mr. Mufasa said...

... if all problems of the world could be easily erradicated with a vacuum, but we musn´t give up...

DoZ said...

If only there were 'Hail Mary' versions of lite-vacuuming...I'd do it more often...

Mrudula said...

I god were a clean carpet then I live in hell.

Neela said...

Ah confession! The problem with confession is this: what if you have stage fright? That you forget all your carefully rehearsed sins when you kneel down and do the "forgive me father for I have sinned" opening lines? Then, if you're a decent Catholic you don't let the poor priest down (he probably has a quota you reason, that comesup on his annual performance report). So you make up some sins on the spot and cover all up by adding "lies" to your litany of sins. i know people (ahem) who've confessed to stealing cookies when they haven't had the faintest idea what cookies actually were. It just seemed like a good enough sin to confess to (and you might steal cookies in future so its like running a credit account, no?).

Maybe God isn't a white carpet. Maybe God is a priceless Ming vase that thinks it should be used, but ends up on a dusty shelf somewhere high out of reach of everything because we believe its too precious to be a vase.

n!

Falstaff said...

doz: :-). I think the Hail Mary stuff doesn't really get to the carpet - it's more like cleaning your desk.

neela: Why would you lie about sinning? I understand why you wouldn't want to show up for confession and have nothing to say (talk about performance anxiety), but why not actually go ahead and commit some sins to fill the gap? So much more fun, plus you can then go confess with a clear conscience. Hmmm..I wonder if my neighbour's wife would agree to be coveted just so I could have something to confess to?

Cheshire Cat said...

Why go to the trouble of inventing all those sins? Just go to the priest and say, "I am lying".

Those Cretans were pagans, surely Christianity can solve the puzzle?

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