Man vs. woman: Where do those receipts go? | Opinion | The Press and Standard

by | April 24, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: April 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Scene: A house.
Interior: Guest bedroom. Camera pans room, stops at bed and zooms in on a crumpled piece of paper on the bedspread.
Man and woman enter the scene.
Wife (snatching up paper): “What is this? WHAT IS THIS?”
Husband: “That would be a receipt from Belk’s.”
Wife: “Why is it on the bed? WHY?!? RECEIPTS GO IN THE RECEIPT DRAWER!” (Rushes out waving receipt, raving incoherently.)
Let me explain: My religion is Episcopalian, but my spirit animal is Tupperware — a container for everything you need and many things you don’t. Good-bye, clutter!
I can’t stand randomly tossed items, untidiness or disorder. Control your environment and you control your destiny. (Trademarked!)
Examples: The magazines on my coffee table are precisely lined up at right angles, stacked three high with the oldest editions on the bottom. The food in the fridge is arranged by expiration date, with the oldest items up front. (I’d sniff the coconut milk if I were you.)
Yes, I have rules. Rules are what separate us from animals, who are perfectly content to live in sloppy surroundings. We are not animals. Humans alphabetize spice cabinets. Animals lick themselves. See the difference?
My rules for orderly living are simple. There should be nothing on any bed in the house except a bedspread and decorative pillows. (Under the bed is another matter. Don’t look underneath, unless you’re searching for suitcases, ankle weights, or an ugly framed print of cows.)
Our kitchen counters are bare except for the toaster, Keurig, container of potpourri and a roll-top bread box painted black and used to store meds and supplements, which are also arranged by expiration date.
There should be nothing on couches and loveseats except cushions. (In winter, a throw is permitted.) The latest edition of the daily paper can rest on the arm of a couch until it’s been read, at which time it goes in recycling.
Nothing goes on the dining room table except for a centerpiece. (Which, I admit, usually needs dusting.)
I plump pillows, straighten books, pile all the TV remotes in a basket and stack plates, platters and placemats in the china buffet. Mail is immediately sorted and junk flyers are tossed. Receipts, in case you’d forgotten, GO IN THE RECEIPT DRAWER in the kitchen, with the knife sharpeners.
Widdle, on the other hand, is more relaxed. Like most men, he lets the chips — and clothes, wallet and cereal bowls — fall where they may.
After years of dying inside as I watched him empty his pockets on his cherry nightstand, I bought him an expensive, monogrammed, hinged walnut box — a special place for his change, fingernail clippers, keys and other manly treasures.
Need I tell you that not one coin or key has been in that box? He still digs in his pockets and cheerfully dumps the contents on the nightstand.
In fairness, it’s not just him. My beloved brother, T-Bob, has a bathroom you can’t believe. There’s usually a wet towel hanging from the ceiling fan, and the vanity top is hidden under tissues, eyedrops, ointment, toothpaste, electric shaver, Q-tips, deodorant, coffee mug and Water Pik. His wife keeps the door firmly shut. I’d probably stab him.
Am I obsessive? Neurotic? Irrational? Maybe.
Years ago, a guest and I were sitting in the living room when she looked around and marveled, “Your house looks like a hotel.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“It wasn’t really a compliment,” she said.
“I know,” I said.
I’ll bet her spices aren’t alphabetized.

(Julie R. Smith, who’s also irrational about making beds, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.)

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