The Pollyanna Principle

I know it’s cheesy schmaltz but I’m a huge fan of Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter. The film, too, by association. I’m mostly a fan of The Glad Game, which I think everyone should play regularly. It’s only when I’m very sad that I don’t play it. And afterwards, I’m always glad to have been sad, because if you haven’t ever been sad then you don’t realise how lovely it is to be glad. It stops you taking glad for granted. I think there should mostly be something to be glad about, even if it comes a long time afterwards. Of course, it doesn’t always work with really horrific events, the likes of which you’ve probably never experienced if you’re reading this.

Anyway, I need to confess a thing. I’m a fairly untidy, dirty woman. I’d quite happily live in a mess. I like clean and tidy, and heaven knows my Bolton house was very clean and tidy mostly, but I’m a messy person. I get preoccupied and things get messy. There’s generalised untidiness. This comes from being an enthusiast. Thus, I’m sitting amid a scarf, a coat from yesterday, some photographs, some paint I’ve not put away, some verb cards, loads of pieces of paper, a couple of books and some CDs. There are three pairs of shoes under my table. And that’s just in the space immediately around me.

I’m not just untidy, though, I’m fairly dirty. The fire puts out a lot of ash; the dogs walk in dirt and mud, and so do I.

I sweep almost every day and mop a couple of times a week aside from occasional spills and piddles and accidents.

I’d wash up only once a day if I could get away with it. And yes, I’ve been known to use a variety of cooking pots just because all my others are dirty.

You may be wondering where the Pollyanna is in all of this.

Mainly, it’s that I have a messy dog. He chews. He strews. He leaves mud everywhere. I have to tidy everything to put it out of reach and then he doesn’t chew it. If it’s in reach, it’s fair game. This is how he ate a Chanel lipstick and a table mat and a packet of dry pasta. I have to sweep up two or three times a day because he’s the messiest dog ever.

That might depress some people.

I’ve learned to see the good in this though. It forces me to tidy up and not be such a slob. I can’t get away with just turning the duvet over once in a while, I have to wash the sheets. I can’t get away with sweeping things into piles to pick up later. I have to dispose of the piles instantly. I can’t leave dirty pots, or Mr Heston gets his big bad self up onto the cooker top to have a little look. I can’t leave dirty clothes on the floor because these are delightfully chewtastic to Mr Heston and they go under the bed only to emerge filled with big holes. I’ve cleaned my kitchen shelves and rid them of any kind of thing Heston might want to chew. A good thing to come out of a bad thing.

So what else is there that’s a bad thing that gives rise to a good thing?

1. I keep all kinds of things in my bed, mostly, but not limited to: hair bobbles, hair clips, cardigans, books, pens and socks. This means they are always easy to find.

2. There are cobwebs on my ceiling that are so thick they cast shadows. This is a good thing because it means I’m supporting local wildlife. And when I got bitten by one of those creatures, well, it made me learn more about biting spiders and not pooh-pooh my friends’ stories of spider bites.

3. I’ve been drinking that much coffee recently that I’m out of coffee and I’m a bit giddy. On the plus side, I have written 39,000 words of my NaNoWriMo book and because I have no coffee and tomorrow is not a supermarket day, I will have to drink water. This cannot be a bad thing, unless the water is filled with poison.

4. The supermarket is far away, relatively speaking. It’s a 7 km trip that takes 10 minutes. That’s 14 km round trip. I go once a week. If I don’t get it on shopping day, if I forget it, I make do. On the plus side, I can make some really great dishes out of frozen stuff. I also am kinder to the environment by not keep going to the shops because it’s easy. It’s also kinder on my wallet. Of course, there are days when I run out of milk, but I’m not going to die if I don’t have milk in my coffee.

5. I don’t have a thermostat or central heating. I have one fire in the living room and that’s it. That means every time I want to get warm, I have to get wood, start a fire, tend the fire. I can’t light a fire and go out because fires need looking after. So, if I’m going out later in the day, I don’t light a fire. I don’t have fires on Wednesday because I teach all day and when I finish, it’s 9pm and that’s a silly time to light a fire. This is not a bad thing because I generally am much better at not leaving my heating on and I’m much more frugal with wood and with heat. It also makes me really appreciate that electric blanket. Last night was the first night it was on all night. Bliss. Between the socks, books and cardigans in my bed and the electric blanket, I was toasty warm.

There. Unexpected benefits of petty grievances. If only everyone played The Glad Game.


6 thoughts on “The Pollyanna Principle

  1. You are so right about animals making you tidy. We have a HOPE cat who can open those expensive sachets, opens the boxes of dog biscuits, tackles cheese and butter as if there is no tomorrow, BUT, if you leave a map (like a blue randonee one) on the table, half an hour later, she has eaten out Celles-sur Belle, or Secondigny. This sounds like a criticism…she is a delightful cat, and I put the butter and cheese in the fridge, the dog biscuits into a cupboard, and the maps back into the drawer.

    1. Tilly is a Hope doggie. She is remarkably well-behaved in comparison and has never eaten a knitting needle. Still, tidiness can’t be a bad thing, especially when a needy animal is involved, with all their whims and peculiarities!

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