Lessons from Computer Games: Everyone Can Afford a Maid
I’ve been a big fan of the Sims since the game was released in its original incarnation. For those who don’t know – it’s a simulation game where you micromanage the lives of individual families and people telling them when to go to work, when to use the restroom, what fabulous furniture to buy etc. Just like with real life you have to constantly clean up after yourself or the house becomes filthy.
To make any progress in the game it’s essential to hire the maid. Otherwise your Sim will be too busy scrubbing toilets to brush up on their mechanical skill, or paint their masterpiece. She costs about 10$ per hour and comes daily. With the income you earn in the game the cost is almost minimal—even my college students hire her. That may be pushing the boundaries of reality—I would have spent that money on Zima. But for the cost of my fledgling alcoholism I could have afforded it.
When I finally moved out of my parents’ house my typical cleaning strategy was to ignore it. I’m not terribly concerned with the aesthetics of my surroundings and found I could become quickly inured to almost anything. My visitors were all unconventional young people (or tricks) so I never felt the need to impress anyone by caving to the patriarchal hegemony of modern domesticity. Every so often I would lose something important and go on a crazed rampage—not resting until I could see my own carpet.
Then I hit rock bottom. This was at the beginning of my professional career, when I was living with the ex roommate from hell whose own habits of cleanliness were even worse than mine. Below is one corner of my bedroom. Do not make fun of the Todd Oldham sheets. It was 2003.
But clearly there are a few problems here. (Click on the photo for optimal viewing.) I had way too much stuff, mostly due to my habit of hoarding old computer parts. Hey some people have lots of cats, I had legacy windows PCs. The two shopping bags from Target say a lot about my life around that time—too bad I never bought any containers.
Five years later this sort of thing is unimaginable to me. There was a lot of denial going on about that whole living situation but I’d always been averse to the C word. Rather than accumulate and manage a huge inventory of junk for the rest of my life I embraced minimalism and got rid of it. I still leave my stuff everywhere but since there’s less of it it’s not as big of an eyesore nor is it such a daunting task to clean up.
My second roommate was great enough to clean the apartment of her own volition regularly and without complaint. But it came time to move into my own place, where I would be forced to fend for myself. And I did… for about a month.
Then I remembered the Sims and called the maid service … or several rather. She comes once a month and I pay 50$ for the service since I live in a small minimally furnished apartment. I’m not a hugely messy person (anymore) and I have no pets so the monthly interval is nice. The irony is that I do pick up a bit before she visits. I enjoy a relatively clean house without having to spend hours of my precious free time away from my beloved computer.
For me the service is 100% worth it. Writing for several blogs and gallivanting bout town leaves me with precious little time to clean and even if I were unemployed I could probably find more interesting things to do. I’ve become happier now that I’ve embraced that.
You’ll certainly save money by cleaning yourself… but maid service is not just for the rich and famous. If you struggle with cleaning like I do, it’s an option you should explore.
While shirking his many domestic responsibilities, Mike writes for Broken Cupid—a blog for single gay men… And sometimes watches YouTube videos of hyperactive cats.