I was making my bed yesterday. I don't do it often enough. I used to do it every week. Now I've gotten lazy and do it maybe once a month.
I do try to take a shower before I get in there, so I won't be sleeping with a lot of germs, and they'll only be my internal germs, I guess, since I sleep alone.
When I had a cat, I wouldn't let him sleep with me. Maybe I avoided toxoplasmosis infection that way.
More recently I read an article that explained that this disease causes a particular type of brain damage that makes you want more cats, a curious type of symbiosis.
So I was making my bed, and I noticed how easily I pop pillows into pillow cases, and flip covers onto the bed. I've developed all sorts of conditioned reflexes that make this almost effortless, which makes it hard to understand why I do it so seldom.
I'm better than my kids in this respect. The only times their sheets get changed are if I have a house guest when they're away and I put clean sheets on the beds for the guest, or if I really nag a lot.
So, I'm doing this task, and I'm hit with the memory of when I was five and my mom first started teaching me to make a bed.
It was very hard then. I was a lot shorter, so to reach the side near the wall I had to crawl over there on the bed, which them messed up the covers. I hadn't yet developed a strategy for dealing with these issues, but I had listened to my mom read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. That book had a story about teaching kids to make a bed. In that story, it was emphasized that the bed should have no wrinkles. Probably, my mom told me the same thing. As a result, the problem of getting rid of wrinkles while crawling about was distressing to me.
Then the thought of the likely recurrence of cancer came to mind, along with the consciousness of the limit on the number of times that I can use this skill that I've acquired over the course of many years, and how all the effort that I've put into learning these little skills may soon just disintegrate.
I find that the prospect of loss of other knowledge, like loss of knowledge of patent law, doesn't disturb me as much as the loss of something so basic as making my bed. Perhaps, because I was such a small child when I first learned, this simple task seems more fundamental to my character, to me as a person, despite the fact that it is not at all unique or distinctive, seeing as most people in our culture know how to make a bed.
My friend T.J. Mannix posted this link on FB
Which sort of captures my feelings about my newly made bed and wondering about what will happen to it when I can't make it any more.