Heide Goode stops by today to tell us why we're wrong when it comes to messes. I honestly don't see what she's getting at. Here's Heide:
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Shakespeare said that, but then, I’m guessing that he had a woman going round picking things up after him.
Mess is something that doesn’t seem to register on men’s radars unless it’s pointed out to them.
Picture the scene. An empty room. A man comes along and unpacks a beer fridge, so now the room is no longer empty. It contains a beer fridge and the box it came in. The man pulls up a chair (from another room) and drinks beer and reads magazines. He takes the beer cans out to the kitchen (he’s no slob), but he looks around for somewhere to put his magazine, as he might want to read it again later. He puts it on top of the large cardboard box that the fridge came in, because that’s the tidy thing to do, right?
He comes in the next day with another magazine, along with the tools and materials he needs to fix the shelf he plans to put up above the beer fridge. He reads this magazine, and tidily (he was brought up right) puts it on the magazine pile he started yesterday. He puts the tools next to it, probably neatly lined up.
This is a man being tidy. If no woman intervenes, there is a good chance that in six months’ time, there will be a huge pile of magazines, some junk mail that he might read when he has the time and some other tools that might be needed when he puts up that shelf.
If a woman enters the room and suggests that he might tidy up, he will look around in a bewildered manner and genuinely not know what she is talking about. The box (rubbish), the magazines (rubbish) and the tools (which should be in the garage) are all piled nicely, so they have become invisible. It is possible for a man to be surrounded by so much invisible mess that he can’t walk across a room, but he will still fail to recognise it, believing that any flat surface (even a temporary one, caused by a cardboard box that should be recycled) is a legitimate resting place for things that he might want to look at or use one day.
Heide Goody lives in the UK and co-writes comic fantasy with Iain Grant.
Their latest creation Pigeonwings is the sequel to the bestselling Clovenhoof.