i cleaned the garage last thursday. a winter’s worth of leaf bits, spider webs, and other assorted varieties of dirt had collected in corners and turned the home for our minivan into a den of detritus. it was time. so i took everything out: the van, the bike, the boxes of stuff to donate, the bin full of tarps, and all the other essential items being stored in the garage. i took it all out and hit it hard with the shop vac. by the time i was done sucking the crap out of it, you could have seen your reflection in the smooth, cold concrete floor.
okay, maybe not. but you certainly had a much clearer view of the oil spots under the van.
anyway, that was thursday. today is tuesday. as a point of reference, that is five days after thursday.
when i went home for lunch today (which by the way is one of the best luxuries of my job – i get to go home for lunch everyday! today my 3-year old son saw me at the top of the driveway and ran – ran – to embrace me), my wife had the van out of the garage, cleaning it out. so i found myself inside the van-less garage once again, expecting to revel in its sparkling sentiment-free surfaces. but what was once smooth and clean, was now gritty and speckled with soil. five days of living – only five little days – had turned my clean garage into a wasteland of nature’s leftovers. just the opening and closing of the garage door, the spring breeze, and the comings and goings of a family of four had turned glorious dirtlessness into a gritty graveyard.
as i unwound the cord from my shop vac, i couldn’t help but wonder about my own life, too. in the garage of my own living, how much crap gets in? if my garage can redirtify in only five little days, well, what does the floor of my heart look like? how much detritus has gathered in the corners and obscured the view of what’s really there? and how often do i need to do a little inner cleaning, to, quite literally, get the hell out? i need a shop vac for the soul to suck the stuff out of my life…