I don't know about you, but I'm not always the tidiest, the most organised, the squeaky-cleanest of people. Don't get me wrong - I return CDs to their cases, put books back in their correct place on the shelf, take a shower every morning. I try and turn up for appointments on time. I even reluctantly wash the car now and then (a metallic black 2007 VW Golf Plus 1.6 FSI SE incidentally - referring back ironically to my previous post).
But I'm hardly a punctilious perfectionist, always smoothing, sorting, cleaning and ordering. Indeed, I always think there's something a little suspicious about those who can't stand even one hair out of place. What are they trying to hide? Over-fastidiousness can all too easily tip over into pathological neurosis. What does it matter if the washing up is left for an hour or two, if you put on again that old jumper which really was due for a wash, if the garden's a bit of a wilderness instead of some sanitised, weed-free, pet-free, kids-free zone of artificial perfection replete with serried ranks of pest-free flowers and a beautifully manicured lawn? I've much better things to do, thank you, than dusting the house plants every few minutes or vacuuming the cat (War and Peace to finish, for a start ...)
In this delightful poem Robert Herrick stands up for all of us who aren't averse to a little wanton disorder. In fact it may even be sexy ...
Delight In Disorder
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly:
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.
ROBERT HERRICK (1591-1674)