I really like being on sabbatical. I like it lots. I do believe that what really would suit me would be a perpetual sabbatical. That would be great. Then I could spend all my time sitting around looking out the window having Great Thoughts (which is my case at the moment has to do with The Theatre, yes you may be jealous if you like), whilst BBC America blithered in the background.
At the moment we're on "Cash in the Attic," a lovely show in which the presenters show up at your house, because you have invited them, and then find stuff you've put in boxes and left conveniently lying around. Jonty, the antiques specialist, wanders through your house and then tells you that your porcelain leaping trout is truly amazing and worth at least 40 GBP. I like especially the way the spontaneity is completely unconvincing. It's so clear that everybody gets all their stuff out for Jonty to find. Do you really want him looking through the bedroom drawers? I think not.
Then you all go to the auction house and auction off your crap and get money for your project, such as building a greenhouse, publishing a children's book for your grandkids, or buying a ramp for the house so your wheelchair bound spouse can get in and out the door. It's all very meaningful.
Later, my Favorite Show will come on, which is "How Clean is Your House?" the answer to which is not very, or the show wouldn't be visiting you. You can ask Kim and Aggie to come to your house, or, more likely, your friends and family can turn you in, and then Kim and Aggie come and shriek about the dead flies in your sink and the cat turds all over the living room floor, and they take swabs and send them off to the laboratory so as to prove to you that you're going to die from filth if you don't start cleaning your house, and then they clean it all up all sparkling, whilst giving you handy tips about how to clean your bathtub with lemon juice, and then they come back two weeks later to find out if you've changed your evil ways.
Now that I write this all out, I can see that one of the charms this show has for me has not to do with my present -- my apartment is fairly tidy these days, and I don't need Kim and Aggie, thank you very much -- but with the past. I have been, in my time, BOTH a professional housecleaner, whose specialty was cleaning up the sort of house that Kim and Aggie seek out, AND a regular humor columnist for what was then the Reclaiming Newsletter -- under the guise of "Hannah Clancy," I wrote a fake housekeeping column for many years, in which I advised readers to do such things as throw glitter on the dust to hide it. We got a letter once from a reader in Germany, who informed us in a serious tone (though god knows the letter itself might have been a joke -- one can hope) that Hannah was doing her readers a disservice in advising them to clean their bathtubs with sandblasters.
Some of the bathtubs I've seen on "How Clean is Your House?" could have done with some sandblasting.
I won't get to see them today, though, cause I have to actually go into work, on account of having a meeting.
If I'm asked how the sabbatical is going, the answer is great! going well! getting lots done!
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
And my house is clean.