My boyfriend, Ben, lives in Los Angeles, where he has a really cool job that he’s not allowed to talk about. (Me: “Oh, so it’s oathbound.” Ben: “It’s… called a nondisclosure agreement.” Me: “OATHBOUND.”) But he travels to Houston every few months, and as soon as he gets here, he a) makes out with me, and b) starts cleaning.
I’m not camped out in squalor or anything, but I’m cluttered by nature, and I’m bad about getting behind on laundry. And… okay, I should probably just firebomb the bathtub. But other than that, I just have a lot of stuff that tends to get in the way of daily living. Ben is both organized and service-oriented, so spending time in my environment kicks his urge to find a place for everything into high gear.
And the challenge he encounters while putting everything it its place is trying to figure out what everything is.
My ex used to describe my design aesthetic as “White Trash Pagan Temple”: It’s basically like a Spirit Halloween delivery truck crashed through the front window of a Catholic supply store, and I feel very much at home in the middle of it. Ben is not particularly religious himself, but he is very supportive of my own beliefs and practices, which is lovely. He just runs into obstacles when he’s trying to, say, rearrange the pantry while constantly laying hands on items that look like they belong in the Devil’s utility drawer.
Following is a conversation we had the last time he came to town — I was working from home, and he was rummaging around in the kitchen. (I can confirm that it’s word-for-word, because it was such an unfiltered view into our relationship that I immediately wrote it all down.)
Ben: “Hey, can I set some stuff on this table? Because it looks like you’ve got some witchcraft going on here, and I don’t want to disturb it.”
Me: “Go for it. Those are just regular candles.”
Ben: “Ah, gotcha. Speaking of, though, I noticed that old, grubby key next to your sink, and I was going to scrub it for you, but then I figured it was probably witchcraft.”
Me: “I actually found that outside a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to wash it off and see if it works on the door to the porch.”
Ben: “I mean, it really seems like it’s maybe witchcraft.”
Me: “It’s honestly not.”
Ben: [skeptical silence]
Me: “I promise.”
Ben: “Well… okay, then. I’m going to start cooking. May I move these rubber gloves, or are they for witchcraft?”
In conclusion, I am very lucky to have a boyfriend who is unfazed by occultism. He’s pictured here making a chicken pot pie, although dinner is postponed until after I finish putting explanatory sticky notes on everything in the apartment.