No one ever really saw me as unhygienic or classed me as the ‘scruffy’ one when I was in primary school. You know, there’s always the snotty nosed kid with the patchy hand-me downs that never really looked like they knew whether they were coming or going. I guess everyone in essence can be accused of being the ‘tatty kid’ in one way or another, but there’s always someone that stands out from the rest and beats everyone in the Scruff Of The Year contest. This does not mean that any of the children that fall in to this category are hard done by or outcasts, in my eyes it means they’re enjoying their childhood a far deal more than the freshly trimmed, rose smelling goody-two-shoes who already knows their nine times tables backwards.
The messy kid is out there, rolling around in the mud, grazing their elbows and learning that there’s a lot more to life than keeping your new shoes clean.
I guess I’m a bit biased toward the scruff of the group. Not because anyone in school saw me as one, but because no matter what condition I returned home in at the end of the day, in my mother’s eyes, that scruffy kid was me.
There became a point in my childhood when I had to accept that any fleck of mud or green stain that found its way on to my school shirt would be cause to shout the house down from my mother’s point of view. She would then Hoover the ceiling just in case any germs found its way in to the nooks and crannies that existed in my house hold. The day I accepted this was the day I became truly free. I no longer cared if a shaving of leaf found its way in to my hair, I didn’t care if I fell over and there were a few scratches on my trousers. I was a typical little boy doing what typical little boys like doing. None of my friends mothers acted in such ways when their sons played football on the field whilst it was raining, so why should mine?
Now? Unfortunately, this attitude to cleanliness has attached itself to my mother and stays with her to the present day. I am no longer the typical little boy that has sword fights with sticks, but a typical teenager who goes out late and hangs all of the dirty washing off of every surface that has an edge. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I’m sure there are a lot of adults out there who will agree with me when I say that sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to worry about folding up your socks before putting them in the washing bin! These are the kind of things that my mother will get all hot and sweaty about if I don’t do them right.
Sometimes I leave the house only to remember that I left a pair of half worn socks strewn across my bedroom floor and smile as I imagine her reaction to such a petty crime in her eyes that I’m sure even she has been guilty of doing in the past.
The smile grows wider when I’m hanging out with friends and suddenly get a text from my sister simply stating ‘she’s found the socks’.
It’s only lately that I find myself worried that her acts of obsession may have rubbed off on to me at some point. I now appreciate a tidy bedroom. Unlike many of my friends who have to search for half an hour in a pit of despair just to find their favorite shirt to wear to a party. I find mine within seconds as it has been hung up as soon as it has been taken off. I never spend hours searching through trouser pockets in order to find my keys so I can let myself in at two in the morning, because I have a spot on my shelf dedicated as my ‘key putting place’. In some respects she may have done me a favour in nagging me to keep my room tidy, droning on for hours about hanging stuff up and putting stuff back.
The phrase ‘a tidy room is a tidy mind’ comes to my thoughts when writing this and in some respects, revision for exams has become a lot easier as I now know where all of my past notes are and how to use them.
Does this mean that after all these years the mother from hell was right? Or is she simply still a clean freak who has molded her son to become the spitting image of her on the cleaning front? I’ll leave that up to opinion. All I know is that I still don’t fold my socks up before putting them in the washing bin.