I have always been a person that notices how “perfect” other people are. I’ve struggled with it for quite some time. It’s a word that’s haunted me probably since my high school days. I’ve always thrown it around like confetti, spreading it everywhere for many people. Some examples would be: “Oh my gosh, they are the perfect couple, they are still in sparkly-eyed love, they even choose to grocery shop together” or “Wow, their house is so perfect, they don’t have twenty piles of mail on various surfaces or fourteen hooded sweatshirts on their kitchen table” or, “She freezes seven days’ worth of meals each Sunday in her clean white kitchen, all while having the perfect I didn’t try too hard, beach-wavy hair and glowy soft skin, man she’s perfect” or my all-time favorite “Those kids are perfect, they literally choose to eat fruit over skittles and say excuse me when they accidently run head first into their brother”.
Lately, I have been trying to be better about that. I’ve been trying to not use the word “perfect” as much. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not perfect (pun intended), so I still accidently drop the “P” word here and there. But, I’ve been trying to be more conscious of it, and I talk myself through such silly ideas. However, something has been bothering me a lot lately. There is a new level of perfect-ness out there. It’s not what you are thinking. It’s not the constant nails being point, or that there are no awkward teen girls anymore (I mean where is the smeared glitter eyeshadow and wall of hairspray?), or even the fact that birthday parties have exploded into a mini Disneyland of activities. It’s something I bet you don’t even know I’m about to say. The level of perfect-ness that has recently arrived and brought a new level of self-doubt and loathing to my world is, get ready for it… garage floors.
I know you are thinking, what do you mean garage floors? But, once I get started I think you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I have been to several homes lately that I’m nearly in a state of complete “flabbergast” if that’s a possibility. There is different levels to this new trend in perfection. There are some that are still just your old run of the mill cement, but are sparkling clean without a spec of dirt, dust, oil, crumb, broken plastic toy piece, empty juice box or old leaves. And, then there are some that are all of that but also shiny, sealed and appear to be like a clean cement carpet with sparkles of love thrown across them.
Now many of you think I’m exaggerating. But, I am not. I just swept our own garage floor (I won’t tell you the last time I chose to do this because well, I don’t know) and realized how imperfect ours is. So, let me ask have you witnessed this new level of perfection? This level of which you look at your husband during the birthday party and mouth “What the heck?” because you’re seriously contemplating if they make you remove your shoes before entering the garage. Like, I think I could check my reflection in this shine on the floor. I mean your children are currently laying on their stomachs eating the candy off that floor that just spilled out of the poop emoji piñata, and when they get up there isn’t a straw wrapper stuck to their face or a random bottle cap embedded to their knee (the kind that would clearly read Miller Lite). And, of course you aren’t going to stop your said children from licking pixie stick dust off those car tires, because well it’s cleaner than your table probably. So then I start to just browse this little party room of a garage and notice that they also don’t have that heaping pile of half broken, but sometimes still used: bicycles, scooters, wagons, or Little Tyke Cars. What do they do with these things? Do they get rid of them as soon as their kids stop riding them? As that seems ludacris, right? Everyone knows you just hang on to these things because your child picks it up every few months and it keeps them busy for an hour or two. I mean how would your kids play ice cream social if they can’t tip the bicycle completely upside down? Doesn’t anyone else have a giant, 400 pound, debunked foosball table in their garage? You know the one that has become a hanger for random clothing left in the garage, and a chest for broken golf clubs, kids’ papers, and bubbles? It sounded like a good idea when we said “yeah, we’ll take it!”
I’m also left to wonder where is Mother Nature in this magical pretty garage? If our garage is open for three hours, the tree out front rains leaves, pine needles, helicopters (is that the technical term?), seedlings and even manages to create a thick dusty yet sandy carpet mixture across the floor. The leaves are heaped in the corners tangled up on top of each other, like they’ve been there for centuries. And let’s not bring up the beautiful spider web décor (and not the kind left over from last year’s Halloween party either). How do these people not have that? They must be out there with the leaf blower every hour is my only thought.
We have two garages at our house, equally full of things we need, and things we do not need. What I can tell you is when we have a party in these shelters the most we do is hang a sheet up to cover up our poison filled paint, cleaning supplies, and dangerous lawn tools. The parties I go to don’t need sheets to cover anything? It’s like they just waxed their floors and shined the walls in this place. Who are these shiny people, and what magical John Deer riding lawn mower did they ride in on?
Now, this article isn’t here to point out that I have some things I should get rid of (well, maybe it is, for my mom’s sake I guess that would be nice). It isn’t to point out that I think people spend too much time sweeping their garage (well, maybe it is for the sake of me not wanting to feel so bad). It is to point out that perfection has gone to a whole new level in people’s homes. Garages that even their large salt drenched, muddy snow booger filled- suburban style family vehicle can be parked in all year long and somehow not leave a heaping grimy puddle on that sparkly pretty floor.
I’m going to keep believing that we are encouraging our children’s imagination with allowing them to play with broken baby toys and paint supplies on the dirty garage floor. I’m going to pretend that we are super “hipsters” bringing back “old school garages” with deflated basketballs, antique beer cans and buckets of old golf balls. Or maybe, we are saving the planet by keeping these things around, and feeling the true “Earth” under our toes because we are standing in dirt.
Perfect is not a thing, we all know that, but it’s easy to get inside of your own head and throw “perfect” around everywhere. Heck, it’s even so easy that I’m staring at garage floors now. We could go on and on about houses of perfection, I do know that. I just thought that would be taking the easy way out, I had to show you there was a new level. So the next time you are about to have a “Seriously?” moment in someone’s home, just imagine my kids throwing their crap all over our garage floor, and not understanding why their mom would run it over with her car, or dad would scream the “bad words” (typically saved for Wisconsin sports teams) when he pulls up in the driveway. Life can be one dirty, broken, and messy-garage of a time. But, I’m here to tell you…have the party anyway. People love to put their beer on the foosball table and talk about the old days while their kids play in the dirt. No one is perfect after all. So, I’ll just keep that Little Tykes car for my kid to take out on his sixteenth birthday.