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April 29, 2022

One of the perks I’ve allowed myself over the last couple of decades or so has been to hire a cleaner for my small NYC studio apartment. For a remarkably modest price, I’ve been able to hand off the cleaning supplies and return only three hours later to an immaculate, dust-free living space full of welcome order and fresh promise.

Ah, yes… There’s nothing like a clean apartment…

Of course, the me of many years ago would have scoffed at such an irresponsible means of keeping a place clean. Why spend money on something you have the ability to do yourself? I used to be quite adept at getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing away. My first studio apartment in Allston, Massachusetts would have been a godsend for cockroaches had I not discovered the value of cleanliness on day one. But I was young and full of self-confidence back then. I also prided myself on painting the walls by myself, doing my own moving, and not paying for parking tickets.

But yeah, we get older and things change. For one, I do my best not to get parking tickets any more. And after moving to Manhattan and becoming the president of this two-building coop, I met a handyman who I had to reluctantly admit was a far greater painter than I ever was or could be. He had the ability to use a roller on any area of the ceiling, wander around and maybe even do a dance step here and there, and not drip a bit of paint anywhere. I’ve come to the part of my life where there’s a strong chance I’ll never attempt to paint even a small segment of a room ever again.

But we’ll see about that…

A studio apartment, almost by definition, forces a healthy level of downsizing to whoever is crazy enough to try to live in one. In New York City, I’ve been downsizing for a long time. Which is probably extremely beneficial; things are expensive around here. And the more possessions one has, the more objects there are to dust. Which is not, if you haven’t already concluded by now, a particular specialty of mine.

One of these days I might own a big house, one never knows. I could put this place on the market and move back to Vermont. I could sell enough books and songs to enable an upgrade somewhere in Manhattan. But in any case, I’d better be able to afford the extra cleaning bill. My knees, heart and psyche are unlikely to be up to the task any time soon.

As a side note, I’ve been typing these words at my neighbors place while my studio is currently being cleaned one floor above. Thanks, Pamela, for the hospitality. She, by the way, continues to insist on cleaning her own place on an impressively rigorous schedule. I don’t know where she gets the energy…

But I’m sure she agrees with me on one thing…

Ah, yes… There’s nothing like a clean apartment…


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