Merriam Webster defines clutter as (noun)1 a: a crowded or confused mass or collection b: things that clutter a place
Merriam defines biofilm as (noun): a thin usually resistant layer of microorganisms (as bacteria) that form on and coat various surfaces
I would like to propose, for a moment that perhaps, just perhaps, a melding of these two has taken place in households across America. Or maybe just my house. Clutter in our house, like biofilm, attaches itself to a solid substrate and proliferates In our house that substrate may be a table a countertop or the seat of a chair. The first colonists, be it an innocent looking paperclip or a grocery store receipt, are weak and can be easily removed. If left alone these items rapidly grow and divide. In a biofilm this is called a quorum sensing. The strength of a biofilm is in its ability to communicate and reorganize into a network, a community with tunnel like structures capable of supplying food and removing waste. Biofilms are vastly more resistant to antibiotics and biocides than the individual bacterium of its making. Once established they are very difficult to remove. I find this to be true of what I shall call householdfilms; clutter at its finest.
As I sit here typing this I can see that the top of my computer desk, my mom’s old sewing machine table, is a great media for householdfilms. There are numerous bits of scrap paper, two dusty CD cases, a book jacket from The Greedy Triangle, a small container of bubble solution, two rocks, and a black feather. And that is just the surface layer. I am quite sure that if I walk away from my desk and return a few minutes later other objects, a pen or a pair of socks, will have joined this healthy chortling collection of household items.
Biofilms have received a bad rap and for good reason. They are responsible for a large percentage of nosocomial infections by clogging up catheters and happily growing on pacemakers and artificial joints. But they can be beneficial too. They may be the answer to cleaning up oil spills in nature and on a small scale can be used to treat waste water. I wonder if I collect all the householdfilm off my dinner table (currently preschool workbooks, recipes to try, dead flower arrangements, a couple of board games, newspapers, a gardening book and some artwork from the boys) and sprinkle it on the oil spot in our garage if it would soak it up better than cat litter.
Does you house suffer from householdfilm too or is it just me?