What do you do when you get out of bed? After having a pee and coming to terms with the fact that you are basically owned by external forces (along with that the notion that if you do not obey them your life will become immeasurably more difficult / louder). Basically, do you make the bed? If so, I am one of you. Have you ever stopped to consider why? That’s a question I may have to return to.
I just don’t see the point of making the bed after I get up. It’s not that I resent the effort. It’s not that I see an unmade bed as a particularly more aesthetically pleasing object. It is purely that I fail to see the point, and once that thought bites, I cannot – will not, some may say – let go of it. Oh well.
Please note that I am not writing this to pick a fight with my partner, even though she’s my greatest encourager to make our bed. I’m writing this to make a point: I don’t understand the point of making the bed. I never have, and I never will. I feel that the cult of bed making is the tip of an iceberg, one which I will spend the next few hundred words attempting to elucidate. My main argument against it is that none of us can really explain why the bed should be made. Not really; not with any validity.
Let’s start with the arguments made. People assume that I do not see it as being worth the effort to do something which my hulking weight will undo in around 16 long hours time. No. I enjoy cooking food, and my digestive system undoes all of the effort I put in to that soon enough. The Sisyphean aspects of the pointless task do not worry me; such is the nature of our miserable human existence.
Another assertion made to me by people to whom I ask “Why do we make the bed?” is that it looks prettier. Excellent. You spend a lot of time in your bedroom once you’re out of bed do you? If you do, you’re a prisoner, at a boarding school, or a student. If you’re in one of those groups, go away: I’m talking to law-abiding grown-ups here. You do not spend the day in your bedroom, so it does not need to look pretty. Just leave it in a crumpled heap, walk away, and convince yourself that pixies have come in and tidied the lot up (which, if you’re a child, may as well be the truth). By the time it’s dark you’ll have forgotten, and just climb in to a pile of blissful slumber. Honestly, it’s that simple.
The most common – and truthful – response is “I just do. I always have. It’s just what you do.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is the crux of my issue here: “It’s just what you do.” I would happily destroy the common consensus; I would happily kick in the teeth of the status quo; I would happily remove from all eternal existence the concept of “The Done Thing”. It is complete and utter horse-apples of the highest order. It is an excuse for the most gullible in our society to switch their brains off and not question the purpose, the need, the rationale behind any one of the myriad choices, questions and responsibilities they bump mindlessly in to in their deeply significant lives.
When we don’t question our own actions, we allow our lives to be controlled (1). When we assume that what has been done is what should always be done, we condemn our future to the repetition of our past (2). When we dumbly accept what we are told, we make it easier for people to lie to us (3). Examples: (1) National Socialism, (2) Slavery and (3) Donald J Trump. Do not assume that everybody knows more than you. Do not assume that “they” exist, and are a guiding hand. Do not assume that just because you mean well, nothing can go wrong: you are sleep-walking in to your own death.
Like I said, making the bed is the tip of the iceberg. Alongside it, at the moment, are various idiotic notions of normality which come with raising a child. For instance: My partner and I do not want our daughter to eat sweets or chocolate – she prefers fruit, and will stop eating a bar of chocolate a third of the way through because she finds it too sweet – yet friend and family alike accuse us of the most heinous abuse of our offspring, and – aghast – sneak her sweet treats, as if it were a human right.
They have formed the impression that, because it was normal for them to eat such rubbish, and to feed the child the same, then it is the only possible state of human existence. Unquestioned lies.
Likewise the gendering of children from an early age: our daughter went to a birthday party not so very long ago. Because it was the party of a girl, there were very few boys there. Because it was the party of a girl, the theme was ponies. Because it was the party of a girl, they gathered together at one point to apply make-up. This is not normal. 4-year olds do not need glittery nail varnish; they do not all like ponies or princesses or fairies; they do not need to avoid the company of boys. Yet.
Bill Gates is a bright man. He is often accused / attributed as saying that he would always pick a lazy person to do any given job because they will always find a more efficient way to do it. I’m allowed to paraphrase what he said, because he never actually said it. Probably. No one really knows. Really.
The point is that it applies. In a job a lazy person is the one who wants to do the most stuff with the least effort, so that they can get back to doing what they do best. Getting high, usually. They will be shown how to perform a menial task; they will observe that it is unnecessarily long winded, labour intensive and boring, so they devise a better, quicker way. It catches on, saves the company money, and they get promoted. That’s the best case scenario. Likely they just get ignored and moved on.
The point is that the person making the innovation here is challenging the common consensus, the “but what we’ve always done is…” attitude. That attitude of doing what has always been done stifles innovation and competitivity; it and they hold us back. It is those people who I would like to see get rounded up, sent to a cold rocky outcrop, and asked what they’ve always done in that scenario.