Most of the year, I rise in darkness, get ready for work, spend most of the day in a practically windowless part of the office, and return home after dark. During that too-brief time of year when my day actually has daylight on both ends, I revel in the light and warmth, and take every advantage to be outside, including using a speed cleaning process on weekends to tidy my house. But the reality is, for much of my life, I have been a career vampire, living and working in the shadows.
Now comes the pandemic-required time of working from home, and spending long days in a domicile bathed in daylight. It has been an eye-opening experience.
At first I was fascinated by the play of light and shadow between sunrise and sunset. I had never before witnessed the golden shafts of sunlight moving from window to window, acting as spotlights throughout my house. I congratulated myself on the placement of a garden window, seeing for myself why my plants were thriving.
But the spotlights moving through my indoor space were not so welcome in other areas. For example, something disturbing was revealed at my salon-style art wall, full of floor to ceiling photos and artwork. There was not only a fine layer of dust, but in some places the frames looked as if they had been hanging, untouched, for many years. Some even had thready cobwebs hanging from them. How could this be? I even have a special duster I run over the frames while cleaning!
And the frames were just the start. Daylight revealed a disgustingly grimy laptop keyboard, lint and other bits of detritus in the carpet, hairs and crumbs and dust bunnies on floors and under furniture.
And what were those spots on the ceiling in the kitchen?
I became aware that my heat ducts probably needed to be cleaned out, my kitchen cabinets scrubbed, my furniture vacuumed, and my bathroom — which I swear I clean every week — required a Haz-Mat team. My cute, quirky decorating style began looking more and more like an episode of “Hoarders” the longer I spent daylight time at home. I’ve found myself sweeping the kitchen floor several times a day, and running the dishwasher and the washing machine more often as I discover all sorts of not-quite-clean-in-the-light-of-day objects around the house. Including a 30 year old Teddy Bear who was more dust than fur.
I rearranged the coats and scarves hanging on hooks next to my front door to be more artistically pleasing. I grabbed some recycled folding doors, leftover paint and more hooks to turn an utilitarian (translation: messy) broom, mop and recycling area into a magazine worthy project.
No matter where I set up my home office area, I can see something dirty, dusty, or trashy. As I open closets, cabinets and file drawers to view their contents bathed in sunlight (or even filtered cloudy daylight, to be honest) I really understand why light was such a powerful enemy of the Undead.
Unfortunately, unlike the bloodsuckers who either burst into flame or turn to dust when exposed to light, my possessions and collections just sit there. Collecting dust.
At the same time, I am tackling a general house clean out, having finally realized that my grown children have really left the nest, as evidenced by their house purchases, moves to distant states, and giving me 6 grandchildren. Time for the toys, books, trophies and other souvenirs packed away for 20 years in the shed to go. I feel like Howard Carter, exposing King Tut’s treasures to sunlight after thousands of years in the dark, if Howard Carter was also trying to work on a laptop and attend Zoom meetings.
In his landmark vampire tale, “Dracula,” Bram Stoker created the legend that vampires need to have their “native soil” nearby in order to survive. Apparently, as a career vampire I have been accumulating my own version of that dirt all around me, without Igor to keep it all organized into neat little jars and packages. And I know I’m not alone. Go ahead, run your finger along the tops of your picture frames. Pull up those couch cushions. Just try to keep yourself from peeking over your laptop screen to take in all the filth around you.
Then pull down the shades.
Originally published at http://www.smilesideoflife.com.