Whoa. Every now and then, I check what other websites are geographically near mine (the GeoURL link at the bottom of this page). Since I live in Midtown in Atlanta, that can be rather interesting at times. But check this out!
On Thursday, Chris and I went over to Alison's for Thanksgiving. I was in the kitchen chatting with Alison, catching up. As we were talking, she noticed something had dripped from the sink onto the top of the cupboard door beneath. Without thinking, she took a cloth, sprayed something on it, and wiped off the mark.
It was a very familiar action - I have seen it repeated in countless kitchens - but it struck me because it's not something that would ever happen in my kitchen! (I share a house with three other single guys...)
But it got me thinking, because really, that's what it takes to keep things clean. Not massive bimonthly cleanups, but immediately fixing small messes. As an engineer/math-person/programmer, as a gen-x-er/slacker, and as someone who usually cares more about thoughts and ideas than things, cultivating a habit of maintenance, of looking after things from day to day, is one of my greatest challenges. Usually I don't even notice what the room I'm in looks like!
And while of course the same rule applies for many other practical things, I wonder how much thought we give to cultivating our selves - our personalities, virtues, character, thoughts. Do we spray and wipe immediately when we see a blob of turkey grease, or just leave it to sit and work its way in, until we learn to not to see the mess anymore?
Of course, you're wondering whether my house is currently spotless then, eh? No, unfortunately far from it. But my room is a whole lot less dusty and more organized, I can tell you that!
Ask me again in six weeks or so, and we'll see whether this is useless blabbing, or whether I've actually changed my behaviour. That's the theme for this year.
As an aside - thanks to Tim Bray and his excellent blog (samples: less technical | more technical) for pointing me to shoutcast. I'm currently listening to "ambient psy chillout"—whatever that means! Sounds cool, though.
Tonight I went to see Love, Actually. I enjoyed it - the actors and actresses were just plain fun to watch, and there were some super moments. At the end of the movie, the idea behind the film becomes clear (I suppose it would have been clear earlier had I been thinking about it), and you realize that they could have done the idea better with a more serious film. However, I'm sure there is a more serious film that does that same idea, floating around somewhere, so I thought Love Actually turned out just right! Okay, so I'm a sappy romantic at heart...
In other news, Drew lent me Jimmy and Wes: The Dynamic Duo. Ouch. I just dropped a chunk of cash on Amazon. Man, it's good stuff. I put it in my CD player, and didn't take it out until it had played through about five or six times. The only reason I took it out is that it's too good to risk spoiling! It has been running through my head all week, and the descent into jazz is inevitable.
Listening to Johnny Clegg and Savuka. Reading Laurens van der Post. I'm some kind of weird combination of the Africa where I was born, the UK where my ancestors live, and the USA where I now live. Have you ever noticed what a beautiful shape Africa has? I suppose if I'd grown up looking at either of them, those other shapes might have a feeling of familiarity, of balance. But as of now, they still feel a bit awkward to me, like you could understand them in your head, but not so easily in your heart.