New Sensation

by Tom Swift

I cleaned my garage the other day. This is an under-rated accomplishment.

Mind you, there really wasn’t a ton to do. I own no power tools. Hang a broom here, discard some strands of wire there, clear off the single shelf, find a place for some planter’s boxes I want to keep but not immediately make use of. That sort of thing.

In other words, no Herculean effort, to be sure. But sometimes it’s not the monumental problems that weigh one down. In fact, in my experience, it is the small and mid-sized matters, too long unattended to, that are the real humdingers of despair. At least in the First World. When you have enough food, clothes, shelter, and health care.

In the winter there was a feeling in the back of my chilled mind that, when I went into the garage, this still new-to-me place where I parked my car, with its cracked concrete and weathered walls, I was entering a space of unnecessary disarray. (I do not have OCD but, in a few areas of life, including that of my personal space, I am sympathetic to what that must be like.) Which is no thing for a day or a week or maybe even a month but after awhile, at some point, you realize that your mood lowers a bit when you encounter that which you have not faced. It’s like the pebble becomes a boulder. Yes, this is true even where misaligned shovels, ladders, and garbage cans are concerned. At least for me.

Now when I go in the garage, whether to retrieve a sprayer or grab the little buddy’s ball, and everything hung up and on the shelf in a way that pleases, easily accessible and yet not in the way, it is most satisfying. Like realizing anew that you dropped that extra pound around your belly.

I watched a YouTube video some months ago in which Jordan Peterson was telling a bunch of undergrads something to this effect: don’t underestimate the power in cleaning up your room. Yeah.