Despite the fact he had promised me that the set would only take one day to load onto the stage, and the rest of the two weeks in the theater would be spent simply rehearsing while he spent the time quietly painting the walls, my set designer somehow managed to still be toiling away on the set the night before the play opened.
By then, I was beyond caring. I was just happy to actually have a set. And I have to admit, it is a pretty nice one at that.
I complimented him on a job well done, and he just kind of shrugged nervously and frowned. "But it's still not perfect," he said. "There are so many other things I wanted to do."
"Sometimes you have to settle for less than 100 percent," I said, trying to play the wise old owl. "It's still pretty damn good, and the audience won't know all the other things you had in your head." I paused. "It's kind of like the difference between Corb and me when it comes to cleaning. When I clean the apartment, I kind of shoot for 80 percent. If it's 80 percent clean, I'm okay, and I can get more stuff done that way. That way the whole apartment can be eighty percent clean. But when Corb cleans the apartment, he aims for 110 percent. He'll spend hours on one room, making it absolutely spotless. The only problem is, he's so tired after that one room, he can't clean any of the other rooms, and he's certainly not going to clean that room again for another four months. And yet, it needs to be cleaned every day, right?"
Brian morosely frowned and looked around at the somber set. "Yeah, I guess so..."
For some reason, that conversation has made its way into my head for the past week. And it got me to thinking: is one's cleaning style a partial reflection of one's personality?
I'm an 80 percent kind of guy. I have a lot of things that I want to get done, and I want them done now. I don't have too much time to make the photo look completely perfect. And in fact, I kind of like the rough edges, if you really want to know the truth.
My oldest daughter has a habit of sweeping everything under her bed, or in closets. It looks fine from a surface view, but that's because she's hiding the real stuff that she should be dealing with under things, and not really dealing with them at all. That's kind of the way she is about life, too.
Ashes, on the other hand, is a complete slob. She literally dumps everything on her bed and somehow finds a way to sleep with all that crap around her. I once found a sharp knife from breakfast in her bed. That girl is a danger to herself.
However, she spends hours upon hours rearranging her book shelves. Showcasing certain genres, organizing by author. And she piles her CDs and DVDs ridiculously high on top of each other, until you swear that they are going to collapse at any moment. What does that say about her?
My son is more practical. He's a slob, but I can see that changing. His room is never as hard to clean as Ashes. He's a bit more simple about things. I think he's going to be an eighty percent kind of guy.
I was telling Josie my theory tonight, and ended my speech with, "And then there's you and Corb. Both of you spend hours making a place look meticulous. Of course, you do it all time, whereas Corb can only stand to do it every so often. But when he does..." I smiled, happy at the memory. "He spent the whole day yesterday doing all the laundry. We don't even have a dirty sock right now!"
Josie's fiancee Andrew grinned knowingly. "Well, she may make it look real nice on the outside, but she doesn't like to change anything, not really. She'll keep the structure exactly the way it is, and ignore the fact that it needs repairs. She'll do anything to pretend that deep inside, everything's fine. Even if it's rotten. Right, dear?"
I stopped for a minute and for some reason, memories of our marriage popped into my head. Hmmm, maybe there was something to this cleaning and personality thing, after all.