Don’t call the authorities – I will return them soon…
Recently I saw a pile of dumped building materials in my local National Park – the Waitakere Ranges. The local authorities had put orange hazard cones and yellow tape around the rubble to show the public that it had been dealt with – or perhaps to show that it will be dealt with soon. The combination of cones and tape had done a great job of making everyone relax. We needn’t worry anymore – because the authorities know about it and will get around to fixing it soon.
I have learned from this that yellow tape and road cones can make everyone relax. Nobody needs to worry about whether or not someone else has noticed it already. The cones and the tape have become a public relaxant to tell us that it has been noticed.
If only the same ‘cone and tape code’ worked at home…
Sometimes the authorities use stickers instead of cones and tape. Abandoned vehicles on the side of the motorway are adorned with a yellow sticker to quickly communicate to the public that the object or vehicle in question has been/is being dealt with. There is no further discussion needed, no need to stop and definitely no need to ask any questions.
The code of cones and tape and yellow stickers makes the hazard much less hazardous because someone in power has said, “it’s ok – we’ve seen it. Move along now.”
I want them to come to my house.
I want them to use their cones and stickers and tape to tell everyone to ‘move along now’.
I want the ‘ticket to relax’ that cones and stickers can offer me.
Why? Life gets too busy to be able to deal with every little ‘hazard’ that life with children brings. The presence of a yellow sticker in a public place gives us permission to just keep on going, to notice or to not notice without need to give notice of noticing or not noticing. Why not in the domestic realm too?
It’s the ‘getting noticed’ bit that is my personal burden. I have had to let go of some of my clean-freakliness since becoming a parent. I have several projects, tasks, chores, errands and outings planned on any given day and there is just not enough time to deal with every ‘home hazard’ that presents itself to me.
I want to don an imaginary police hat and place an imaginary yellow sticker so that I can keep on going without feeling harassed by the presence of these unfinished tasks or ‘hazards’.
Recently my son turned two and it made me reflect on what life before him was like. Some pretty big differences are glaringly obvious – our lives used to be a lot more organised, our house used to be a lot more tidy and (I’m not sure how this is possible) our house used to be bigger.
I am also certain that I used to have a lot more time for housework and little chores and a lot less need for yellow stickers, ‘do not cross’ tape and orange cones.
Before babies, when I started a task I finished it in whirlwind time. Before babies, the housework was scheduled for once a week and all chores were done in one go. Before babies, I sewed in my studio and I could complete a whole garment in one sitting. I even made several things in a day without interruption. I also painted and played guitar and was interested in having my house look like a photograph-worthy home…
But then we had children.
Now, well. Now I’m inspired to start placing yellow stickers and orange cones…
With each yellow sticker I would give the following notice: “I know about this. There is no need to tell me. Do not ask me questions about this. I will deal with this when I am good and ready.”
Between the lines it would say, “Ask me about this, I dare you.”
I want to go on a yellow stickering. ‘Do not cross’ taping and orange cone-ing rampage!
Yellow sticker for the dishes/dishwasher. They need to be loaded into the dishwasher but I can’t be bothered – there are other tasks at hand!
Yellow sticker for the toddler’s bed. Sheets need to be changed this week (supposed to be yesterday but I am sidetracked).
Yellow sticker for the washing basket. I know the laundry is clean and needs to be sorted and put away but I don’t want to waste productive moments on folding.
Orange cone – mountain of washing looks like it may fall on me one day soon.
Yellow sticker on our bed which I didn’t make this morning. Move along now.
Yellow sticker for the studio. ‘Authorised Persons Only’ tape – this is a mess that only the authorities can navigate through..
Orange cone for abandoned half cup of coffee sitting in cup next to computer.
Orange cone for small toy digger waiting to dig into next stray foot.
Orange cone by high chair – Splat Mat needs to be taken outside after lunch and shaken to remove crumbs.
Yellow sticker for my hair – needs to be styled but there are more pressing things to do…
And that’s just the beginning.
And now everyone (including me) can relax. These things have all been noticed and they will be dealt with in due course/when I am ready/when I get a second/shut up and stop going on about it.
Move along please, because we all have to. Move along please because I now know that a show-home is one that is not lived in. Move along please, because we are happy even if we are a little [hap]hazard/ous. Move along please because stuff still gets done, it just may not be right away.
PS. If you are inspired to start yellow stickering, taping and coning, be sure to use the small sports cones rather than full-scale road cones – they add exponentially to the mess and apparently road workers actually miss them when they are gone…
PPS. No traffic cones were harmed or actually stolen and merely provided the inspiration for this blog entry.