I have the reputation of living what Marie Kondo might call a magically tidy life. My tights are rolled like sushi, my tabletops are bare and my kitchen is so clean I could perform surgery in it. I wasn’t always this way. When I was 23, I left my New York City apartment with a panty liner stuck to my back. Yes, it was used. Yes, earlier that day, I had taken it off and tossed it onto my bed like a bear throws salmon bones onto a rock. Once it was there, I guess I forgot about it. It was probably camouflaged. I promise you there was other stuff on the bed. My bed used to look like a landfill. Maybe I threw my coat over it and it stuck. And then I put my coat back on and rode a bus 30 blocks with a panty liner between my shoulder blades. Nobody said a word. I didn’t know it was there until my date gave me a hug and then peeled it off like he was at a burlesque show in hell.
This was not the man I married. The man I married walked into my apartment and found Pop-Tart crusts on my couch. I can still see his face, bewildered and big-eyed, pointing at the crusts as if to ask, “Do you see them, too?” I shrugged. He sat on the sofa. It is my husband’s nature to accept me the way I am. It is my nature to leave every cabinet and drawer open like a burglar. My superpower is balancing the most stuff on a bathroom sink. If I had my druthers, I would let cat puke dry on a carpet so it’s easier to scrape up. If druthers were things, and I had a coupon for druthers, I would stockpile them like Jell-O because you never know when you might need some druthers. But it is one thing to accept a slob for who she is; it is another to live with her.