Cleaning Up

by Bryan

I don’t think I’m a “clean” person. I don’t “clean up” so much as I move things to less offensive parts of my room. My room basically rotates on a 6- or 7-month cycle of stop motion pictures, with increasing numbers of things moving slowly or drastically around the room in every frame. Culminating the cycle, I will throw much of it out, and the process will repeat itself.

I think this is because I am very good at coming up with excuses to do other things than clean. I will read, think about exercising, exercise, study baseball statistics and, worst of all, cook before I start sweeping or mopping. Even then, it’s rare the I give the apartment a good enough cleaning that I actually feel my work is done; usually, I resign myself to the fact that I’m never going to be done, and fail to convince myself to clean more often. Even tonight, I considered doing the remaining dishes – about 7 of them – before writing this, but put it off until the morning (they’ll just pile up after breakfast, anyway).

I think I have always been fairly insecure about my general cleaning habits, but I think I’m getting better. For instance, I’ll always clean up all but the smallest messes. A drop or two of orange juice never killed anyone. I will do the recyclables on something vaguely resembling the recyclables pick-up schedule. My proudest personal accomplishment, though, is becoming the guy who throws away all the newspaper circulars from my front step. This position that comes with exactly zero gratitude, and I’m a little sore about it, but I’m not about to give up my crown to any of my neighbors. I worked too hard to get it.

I think my general state of cleanliness goes back to my childhood, when my two brothers and I would tear up the house while waiting for my mother, and her dinner-creating powers, to return from her job as the town librarian. Over time, new things would pile up, get dirty and move around the house, until mom finally decided to go ballistic. At this point, us boys would mope around and tidy up, heads low, as mom raced from task to task, screaming at us. When the maelstrom was over, that meant the cleaning was about to come to an end. Sometimes the fights were bad; other times we made an immediate joke out if it. There’s one involving my mother, a hotel room window and a rubber Koosh ball that has had us in stitches that was deemed “an instant classic” over sodas about 10 minutes after it happened.

I think this is why I feel like I am never done cleaning. I used to have someone tell me when I was done. Now, I have to figure it out myself. I mean, I’m not a complete imbecile: I know when a floor is clean and the windows are washed. It’s just that there are some people who could literally clean forever (A fact I have learned by watching movies where people do cocaine, and infomercials), and I have to accept the fact that I am not one of them.

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