Cleaning is a gigantic drag. For every stroke of the broom, I can come up with another life obligation I’d rather be doing. Having an oil change. Paying my bills.Getting a physical. And this isn’t because I’m obsessed with my car or have tons of money or a hot doctor (D: None of the above). It’s because dusting and sweeping and scrubbing away the filth that accumulates in every nook and cranny of our one bedroom apartment displeases me. A lot.
First, it’s gross. Second, it makes me sneeze. Third, I get nasty sneers every time I go onto our back deck and bang the dust out of the broom. Maybe that’s because our neighbors are within arm’s length and the clumps of dust float directly from my broom to their faces but, come on, since when did a little dust in the face warrant a sneer?
I can hear my mother saying something like, “Well that’s why they call it a chore. If it was fun, they’d call it doing your plays.” But what annoys me most about cleaning the apartment is not the activity itself (although it really is no fun) but the futility of it all, because by the time I replace the sponge and Comet back under the sink and tuck the broom back in its corner, I turn around and can practically see fresh dust settling on the room. I don’t know where it comes from, but it reproduces like Catholics.
Which makes me ask myself: Why do it in the first place?
Yes, I get that it’s not socially acceptable to be knee deep in dust bunnies, and when we eventually do have offspring, we certainly don’t want to be the house that the other children aren’t allowed to visit. But right now we not only don’t have kids, we don’t have friends. (For my readers who don’t know Phil and I, we aren’t outcasts. We just moved away from everybody we know and our efforts to meet people has been…. noncommittal. Okay, maybe it’s our own fault, but how do you meet new people? Are there pickup lines to give potential buddies at bars? And what if we still like our old friends? Anyway….) In the year and a half that we’ve had this apartment, it has seen people other than ourselves on only ten occasions, and one of those occasions was when our Internet wasn’t working, so the Cablevision guy was getting paid to be there.
So, who am I cleaning for? From what I can tell, Phil doesn’t notice that the apartment needs a cleaning until the dust is motey enough that a cross breeze skitters it across the hardwood floor like tumbleweed in a Western flick, and you can almost hear the whistling wind and Spanish guitar in the background.
It’s like the question of the tree falling in the forest– if nobody sees that my apartment is a sty, can I still behave like a cleanly person without anybody knowing the difference? Will anybody suspect that our shopping list can be written in the dust layer on top of our bookcase? (I can see myself writing: milk, yogurt, peanut butter, and then Phil opens the door and the wind wipes it clean like an etch-a-sketch.)
As tempting as it is, I suppose we can’t be Mr. and Mrs. Pigpen without the rest of society knowing/judging. (Mostly because I just blew our cover.)
…. Or can we?