Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The mundane familiarities of existence

I've always been a little bit obsessed with rituals. I suppose it's the latent anthropologist in me. Although I often find myself lamenting the lack of true ritual in modern, western, secular life - the kind of ritual that represents centuries of tradition, brings people together and is tightly woven into the fabric of social life (which may be why I'm so fond of weddings) - I'm also pretty fascinated by the quiet, personal, domestic rituals people perform in their daily lives: be it the way they make tea, or the order in which they get ready in the morning, or their habit of cooking a roast every Sunday or ordering takeaway every Tuesday. I guess this is why I am so easily addicted to domestic blogs; I love looking through windows into people's daily lives, the way they conduct themselves and find meaning and comfort in the mundane familiarities of existence. It's a topic Sarah has been talking about a bit lately on her wonderful blog, The Pink of Perfection and which I have been reading with unabashed glee.

Anyway, I've recently discovered that for someone so fond of the idea of rituals, I go about my daily life in a highly un-habitual manner. I get up at a different time every day, I never eat the same breakfast twice in a row, sometimes I shower first, sometimes I eat breakfast first, sometimes I make the bed, sometimes I don't, I constantly change my preferred variety of tea...I'm quite the fickle lady, and that's just in the morning.

I also tried to institute a Monday night curry night ritual, but soon got bored of curries and ran out of ideas. I also started a Tuesday night by candlelight ritual wherein every Tuesday night we would conduct our own private Earth Hour, but I forgot about it after one week.

I'm the most un-ritualistic when I get home from work. I walk in the door, and aside from taking of my coat, never quite know what to do with myself. I feel like I should do something substantial to mark the transition from work life to glorious, free, life life, but instead wander about the house like a befuddled kitten that's just been put through a spin cycle.

I really do want to create every day rituals, to take comfort in the familiar, to create some kind of constant in the chaos of my life, and to know what to do when I get home from work. I want rituals I will perform every day/week/month or year of my life. So, my slightly stalker-ish question for you today, dear readers, is this: what are your everyday rituals?


Anonymous said...

When i butter my toast i like to make sure its completely covered with an even layer of butter. I like to start from the centre and work my way outwards. I always use my favorite butter knife from dreamfarm (http://www.dreamfarm.com.au/products/oni/)! Apart from that i live a very un-ritualistic life.

Polo said...

I too have a toast ritual which I had never really noticed until someone pointed it out to me. The toast must be lightly browned, never burnt. Then all slices must be stacked on top of each other. The top one is buttered and then moved to the bottom of the stack. Repeated until all slices have been buttered and put on the bottom so that the butter on them melts because of the insulated warmth of the above slice. Since I've noticed my ritual I've noticed toast is very personal. Tasty toast ritual.

bee said...

i always sit in the same seat on buses/libraries/cafes etc. I'm able to compromise if its filled but i always take 'my seat' when it's free! When I get home I look for the most delicious thing in the kitchen cupboards and begin consuming it, whilst checking email and blogs!

Toddette said...

In the morning before work I check my various email accounts as well as Mrs O, People, Quincey and Millionaire while listening to news radio and eating home made muesli and drinking green tea

Julia said...

Ooh, Good ones!

I also do the butter and stack toast thing. And I eat straight out of the pantry when I get home. Perhaps I have more rituals than I previously realised. Thanks for the inspiration, sweet readers.