This one was another favorite and was originally published in the Daily Corinthian, June 8, 2005
Finding the hiders
I was at a friend’s house a few months ago. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call her “Leslie.” Anyway, Leslie had asked me to stop by as she was about to have a yard sale and had decided to give me the pick of some boy’s clothes before she had the sale.
I looked around her house and thought about how neat and tidy everything looked. Leslie and I talked for a few moments then she walked over to the couch and said she was going to pull out the boxes of those clothes she had promised to show me.
From where? I thought. Her couch sat parallel to a corner and she reached behind it and lifted out a large box … then another. My jaw dropped. I would never have guessed she had so much hidden behind her couch.
“Oh, don’t you know? We’re hiders,” she explained.
I knew exactly what she meant and it was so nice to see another of my own kind. It turned out that she had stuff stored that way all over the house. The immaculate appearance was an illusion – an impressive illusion.
I am also a hider when I am in a tight spot. Generally, I like to keep a neat house, but work keeps one so busy — as do children and hobbies — and it is nearly impossible to keep a house as neat as one would like unless one were home all the time. And, when guests unexpectedly show up at one’s door, there are some emergency measures that can be put into place.
Please conduct “hider” drills with your family on a regular basis so as never to be caught unaware and untidy.
First, always invest in dust ruffles. Dirty clothes can be kicked conveniently under the bed in an emergency and a dust ruffle is the perfect guard against the discovery of a shocking mess.
Next, always keep trunks and suitcases handy for storing papers and junk items that normally accumulate on top of a dresser. Use caution though – a lost bill could be detrimental to the “clean” image one is trying to obtain.
Third, use dark shower curtains. It is amazing how many towels can be piled into a bathtub.
Fourth, own a dishwasher and empty it regularly. It makes a great place to store dirty dishes and one can turn it on and wash the dishes later. If the dishwasher is overflowing, then a cool oven is the obvious alternative. However, don’t forget that those dishes are hidden in the oven.
I did that … I forgot about dishes in the oven and turned it on to preheat — and smell of baking baked-on food, old milk, and melting plastic mixing spoons still haunts my dreams to this day.
Finally, utilize your closet space to the maximum and never let a guest in your home wander off aimlessly and open one. The results of such tightly packed debris and junk could result in injury as the closet will “throw up” its contents upon the unsuspecting guest and the room in question.
Come up with a plan and make sure your family knows it well so when the call comes in that grandma is on her way to your house, you can yell, “Code Red! Code Red! Granny’s riding toward the homestead!” and everyone will leap into action like a well-oiled machine. It’s true that such organization could easily be put to use in cleaning and organizing one’s house instead of having emergency “hiding” procedures but I say … what fun is that? I mean, where’s the challenge?
I am making it my mission to find the hiders of this world and bring them out into the open so that they may shine and be recognized for the improvisational geniuses that they are. So far, I’ve not been very successful. The one thing about hiders is that they are so well hidden. Still, I keep trying.
(L.A. Story is a fiction writer and poet. She is a resident of Glen where she is currently working on a procedure to hide an un-mowed yard. She is thinking maybe … green sheets. Her blogs now appear on Wednesdays.)