Day 167: The Corners I’ve Been Cutting

Cleaning my room was never my forte. It’s not that it’s something I don’t ever want to do, I’m just…really bad at it. I have an undiagnosed and totally made up condition. When an object stays stationary for an extended period of time, I cease to recognize them as tangible objects. This always made cleaning my room difficult, as there’s hundreds of things strewn about that I just don’t see. But I still cleaned my room frequently to keep up appearances. When my parents opened the door, they would see a “clean” room. But if they were to look hard, they would’ve found more and more things wrong with it. I would cut every corner possible to hide the clutter away from my parents and away from myself.

Cutting corners is generally a smiled upon practice. Nobody wants to walk the full corner if they don’t have to. The seconds of life saved compile up into minutes rather quickly. It’s also a great way to not face your problems but still feel like you accomplished something. Our country has been cutting corners for decades and when you look at it from a distance, it’s a-okay! But then when you take a closer look, the cracks start to show. And if you do it too often, the problems and clutter will pile up and become unmanageable. That’s why the government is suddenly so broken. That’s why the drawer in your fridge that you never open is starting to smell. That’s why you run into people frequently. Cutting corners is only a temporary solution. It’s not the actual solution.

I learned that the hard way in the last move. If you came to visit our apartment, you wouldn’t think it was that bad. That’s because I spent years cutting corners and cleaning around hidden clutter. Once it came time to pack up all of my possessions, I realized just how bad it was. Bags of stuff that I bought 2 years ago, boxes that were never unpacked from the previous move, mounds of broken glass from god knows when and strewn receipts as far as the eye could see. We ended up filling over 15 contractor bags with all of the junk that we kept for no reason. While it made sense to cut corners when times were shit and Rachel was out of commission, I ended up treating it as just the way things were done. I only wanted the apartment to look clean, it didn’t actually have to be clean. And it made the month of January a living hell.

Now that we’re settled in the new place, we determined that we can’t cut corners anymore. We’re hoping that the smaller space will work to our advantage in that regard. We’re giving ourselves a new start and we can’t let that slip. We are trying our best to organize everything we get. Things all need their place. As two people that have habitually cut corners, this is a huge feat, but it’s time for us to grow up. Because our place is too nice to not maintain.

But that’s not to say that I’m not still being haunted by my past transgressions.

I haven’t given my Animal Crossing much loving as of late. At first, I thought that plugging 1000 hours into it made it stale, but as soon as the snow melted, my interest was wholly renewed. Back in the summer, my island was meticulously curated. I figured it would still be that way after months of neglect. I was dead wrong. Flowers and weeds were overgrown everywhere. Objects were placed that made no sense. What I thought would be routine maintenance turned into a daunting task.

As it turns out, I was cutting a lot of corners on my island. There were spots that I never went to or trapped behind objects and houses that were hiding endless clutter. I found a Christmas ornament behind a tree. I cycled through 4 shovels to get rid of all of the unwanted flowers. There were cliffs just sitting in the middle of nowhere. For months, I only walked a certain direct path around my island and it showed. It was art imitating life imitating life or whatever.

As cutesy as it is, Animal Crossing is an effective reality simulator. It teaches us to maintain friendships, budget our time and design infrastructure in a way that benefits everyone. It also gives us a crash course in cutting corners and its consequences. And it’s one that needs to resonate with all of us. Because what good is a nice looking house with a mountain of trash in the backyard? I mean, it’s probably fine, but you’re eventually going to want that backyard cleaned eventually. That’s life to a tee.

– TeeCoZee