VIRGO (any year: 23/08 – 22/09)
What does a Virgo do when he gets older? He tidies up. It’s not a question of what he tidies up. Do you think that just because everything is already in order that his extra touch is unnecessary, is that what you’re saying? Are the picture frames straight? Are the socks all matched up? Yes? But are they sorted by colour? No. So there you go. That’s what Virgo does. He continues the incessant struggle he started from the minute he was born. No, he was not crying because he wanted milk then. But because some irresponsible individual left the rattle at an awkward angle.
That’s why he was crying, though nobody could understand it then. Not that they understand now. So many employees, so many guests, so many visitors to the nursing home, and not one come to his defence. Everybody just thinks he’s a hypochondriac, nit-picky and quirky. What, because he re-makes the bed as soon as the cleaning lady leaves? You call that bed-making? It may all look fine on the surface, but underneath? Did she fold the sheet over the mattress symmetrically, or just crumple it up and leave it hanging. That’s what we’re talking about. That's exactly what he tidies up.
Before deciding to go to a nursing home, he hired a detective. A person he could trust, a Virgo, to watch and learn. To verify. Is it clean? Is it tidy? Is there order? Is there enough disinfectant? Once he was sure about the basics, then and only then did he approach the owner for details. “Can I please bring a ruler and a compass”, he asked. “You can even bring a protractor if you like,” the owner answers, not realising where he was going with these questions. From that moment on, nothing went unmeasured at the already quite symmetrical nursing home.
The trays were set in straight parallel lines that would never meet, even at infinity. The glasses were set to drain in perfect alignment. The fruit in the fridge was in rows, along with the cups in the cupboards, the plates, the towels, the jellies, the creams, the pieces of halva. The head of the kitchen didn’t know what hit her. Nobody did. They got to him just in time, as he was getting ready to bleach the black keys on the piano, to make them all the same colour. They stopped him just before he tried to adjust the rocking chair so it would stop rocking. “But it's supposed to rock,” they told him. He did not take it well, but he was forced to accept it, after being threatened by the head nurse. “I’ll never give you any iodine again, do you hear me?”, is what she told him and finally made him stop.
But truthfully, he quite enjoys himself at the nursing home. He likes the fact it’s clean, disinfected, that the sheets are changed daily; that everything is organised. He likes that there’s a schedule to follow, that they eat at a certain time, with matching cutlery. He finds it a little stressful that the bread slices aren’t exactly straight, but that may be too utopian. Not even in Heaven would you see that.
He likes that he found so many friends all of a sudden. Does Virgo really love people, though? It’s not that he prefers objects, but you know. Objects are obedient and stay wherever you put them. People are impulsive and that’s the problem. They come, they go, they get wrinkled, they touch things. What do you mean they want to play chess? They can play chess with all the pieces in a row. Do they have to mix them up? Look at how they skewed the knight! Can’t you just make him face forward? How hard can it be? That’s why he plays chess on a tablet. That way order is preserved and he has plenty of time for all the rest. What is the rest? Why, love!
Virgo is in love. Deeply. He’s sure of it. He knows. With absolute certainty. He has analysed it to death. He made an Excel page, and put everything in columns and rows; these things over here, those over there. He added it all up and he is convinced. Love is what he's feeling and not a stomach bug, or some kind of gastroenteritis. He had some medicine, and some crackers, the ones without salt, but the tightness he feels won’t go away. Love, for the lady in the room opposite with the perfectly round hair bun and the well-ironed skirts with the perfectly straight, parallel pleats. He noticed it, he analysed it, and all he has to do now is to take the next step and he finds that a bit difficult. It’s not that they aren’t well matched; on the contrary. For four years now, not a day has passed that he hasn’t seen her carefully tidying up her bedside table. Oh, right, we forgot to say... This has been going on for four years. He has analysed extensively, as we said, but now the time has come that he has to actually live it, and therein lies the rub.
It's easier to tell Virgo to take responsibility for cleaning the nursing home all 365 days of the year than to have him dust off his soul to find a place for love. He finds himself out of sync. His innate astuteness, his planning and his unrivalled attention to detail don’t seem to be helping him. On the contrary, they are a hindrance. He goes outside in a tizzy, with a measuring tape in his hand. He measures the diameter of the fountain, the length of the fence, the steps his doctor told him to take to help his heart function. He measures the length of time he can stand to be away from her and because it is not enough, he forcefully goes back in. He has made up his mind. He will seek her out in her room, talk to her and, to avoid making a fool of himself, he will ask to borrow a dust cloth or a little cleaning alcohol.