Household Surfaces Abhor Nakedness · 4 December 2010

Science tells us that Nature abhors a vacuum. Our dressers, night tables, desktops, and all the other surfaces in the house must not like them either. Or maybe they just like to be covered instead of naked.

I noticed the phenomenon of no naked surfaces recently when we moved a printer from the top of the desk to another room in the house. It was nice to have the desktop near the computer free from any clutter whatsoever. We even moved the clutter that was on top of the printer to a new location. However, the surface was soon covered with papers, bills, and miscellaneous stuff. It was like the surface needed to be covered. Or clothed. I suppose it needed the covering to keep from getting injured or to stay warm.

Now I am not one to give human characteristics to inanimate objects, but after seeing the desktop get covered almost immediately after it was uncovered, I decided that I needed to look at the phenomenon a little closer.

What I discovered was that with few exceptions, all the flat surfaces in the house had stuff on top of them. It really did seem that the dressers and tables all needed to have “clothing.” The small set of drawers that I use as a night table had layers and layers of books and papers covering it as did my dresser. And it seems that whenever I try to take the clutter away (which is not that often), it just seems to come back in greater quantity. It is like the table is cold and needs to have lots of layers to keep warm.

Now I know what you are thinking. Like my wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, you are thinking that it is just me being messy and cluttering up my spaces and surfaces. But for some reason, I think it is more than that.

We have a buffet table near the dining table. We use it when we have guests and serve everything up buffet style. In everyday life, it is supposed to be part of The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi’s domain. Nothing is supposed to go on the buffet table except for her holiday decorations or whatever else she deems appropriate for the space. But for some reason (I am sure it is not disobedient children or an inconsiderate husband), the tabletop accumulates clutter. It is as if the naked surface calls out to any who are near, “Put something on me. I do not want to be naked.” Sure, it is a convenient spot to just drop stuff off, but it seems odd that even with all the reminding and scolding from the kids’ mom, the surface gets covered. It seems that the calling of the tabletop is more compelling than the wrath of the mother.

There is one exception to the clothed countertops in the house. The kitchen counters seem to be exhibitionists. Only a few appliances and daily use items live on the shiny granite surfaces. Neither hot nor cold seem to affect the disposition of those kitchen countertops. My wife seems to be an unwitting helper for the countertops as one of her only pet peeves is that the kitchen counters must be clean. It seems the counters have brainwashed her into making sure they are clear of all but the most necessary items. The exhibitionist kitchen counters love to show off their brilliance and The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi helps them to do so.

Unfortunately, the other surfaces in the house seem to call to the rest of to help those counters put some clothes on. The kitchen counters get dishes on them after meals, but the plates and utensils are soon put into the dishwasher. Then, the counters sigh with contentment – they are naked. But soon the other surfaces in the house call out to the modesty society and dessert is served. The dishwasher has already been started. Both the exhibitionist kitchen countertops and their accomplice, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, will be thwarted. Unwashed bowls and spoons will sit on the counter until morning if all goes well for the modestly dressed surfaces.

I am sure that the tabletops and countertops in our house do not really have personalities and the need to be dressed or undressed. I am sure they do not call out to us for covering or uncovering based on their need to be clothed or naked. I am sure we, rather I, am just messy. Then again, if nature can abhor a vacuum, like science tells us it does, maybe household surfaces can either abhor or crave nakedness.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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