Times I Force Myself to Clean
I know there are those of you out there who get home from work, make a meal, do the dishes, and wipe down all the counters before you succumb to your cloud of a bed. But I can’t do that. I like to explode a few Hot Pockets in the microwave, sear some bacon before I dump the grease and pan into my sink (sorry environment), and then crawl into bed covered in cheap pizza sauce and regret. I also believe eating in bed is the greatest thing ever and if you are too worried about the crumb situation then we were never meant to be together. Yet there are even moments when I get the bug, the urge, the wild and crazy notion that maybe my tiny studio apartment has become a bit of a pig pen. These are those times:
When My Parents Visit
This specific cleaning marathon is always brought on by memories of fear and disgust worn by my mother and father as they entered my college dorm room. We all knew what was on the other side: twice worn clothes all over the floor, faint smells of old beer coming from the trash, and worst of all for them – the possibility that near my bed lingered the smell of bodies being pressed together all night in a sweaty and drunken malaise. It’s hard to imagine why I thought submitting them to that was ever a good idea, especially when in 2 weeks I was going to have to come up with a legitimate reason for needing more money besides the usual “Pleaseeee, Mom. More $$$” text.
Yet for four years in college I absolutely submitted my two clean-freak parents to twice yearly thoughts of “Wait, do you do anything besides eat and drink your way through all this tuition money?” If only they would have just looked under my bed they would have seen the dozen or so text books I was ready to cram a week before finals intermixed with some socks and Burger King wrappers. You just had to look harder, guys.
When I Have a Date
I can’t imagine a worse scenario than an amazing date cut short by the murder scene of rotting food in my sink. We go out. You tell me you’re the one girl who has always loved Indiana Jones and the NBA. We agree that Meryl Streep is a goddess and a testament to naturally aging women. You even don’t give me a raised eyebrow questioning my masculinity when I tell you I love helping my mom pick out shoes. “Stuart Weitzman has been killing it” I’ll say, and you’ll laugh as we get more drunk and kiss outside on the walk back.
Imagine all of this crashing down around me as I push open the door to my apartment to reveal the recent weeks worth of clothes next to my bed, my kitchen trash quite visible through the slot of the garbage can, and a few stains on my unmade bed that make you think “That’s pizza sauce? Right?”
I can already hear your excuse about cramps or work in the morning as you hang from my bathroom window and make your escape into the alley below. Please come back. I’ll pour you a glass of the $10 red wine that’s half gone and has been left out for 3 days. Please, just come back.
When I Have Work to Do
It’s impossible for me to get anything productive done in an environment where I spent the last few days living in a world we can aptly sum up as “sweatpants”. Perhaps it is the procrastinator inside me who hates sitting down and finally hammering out that 10 page essay, those 50 emails or that elusive blog post. Or maybe it’s that I associate the mess with a general state of laziness and can’t buckle down until the world around me is reflection of the control I wish to express over my work. Whatever the case, the first thing I’ll do is prepare by chugging three cups of coffee. Then I’ll scrub the floors and clean the fridge while the dishwasher and laundry machine are both churning simultaneously. Once completed, I usually think, “Motherfucker! How is it 2 am?!” and realize I should have started everything about 12 hours ago. But hey! At least I have a clean apartment.
When We Break Up
This is always one of the most productive times of my life. I think it’s a subconscious urge to move on. It’s as if I’m trying to scrub out all the details of the other person’s presence. But I swear to god, I will have an emotional breakdown at 7 am when I’m rummaging through my apartment looking for my keys only to find the movie tickets from that time we got drunk in the back row on brass monkeys.
Get out of my life. Out with your toothbrush and half used bottles of shampoo. Out with the ice cream that only you really like and the crunchy peanut butter that I couldn’t even eat if I wanted. Out with the underwear you accidentally left under my bed and the stains your clumsy hands left on my side table. When we break up, the trash goes out, the floors get scrubbed and my sheets get washed. Get your smell out of my bed.
I’m taking back my space.
Of course, no promises on the whole getting horribly drunk later and texting “I just want to make out one more time” thing. That takes a little longer to wash away.