Friday, August 24, 2012


You know how housecats once upon a time ran wild and free and did whatever the fuck they wanted until humans came along and fed and litter-trained them into domestic complacency? Well, I might as well start practicing my "meow," because it's getting serious--I'm becoming increasingly domestic.

And before everyone who said I'd change my mind about not wanting things like children or perhaps even a husband open their mouths to say they told me so, sit down. That's not the kind of domesticity I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is my newfound urge--and occasional even *desire*--to clean my house. It has been overtaking me since the moment my housemate first handed me my keys.

My mother and grandmother were basically appalled at the degree to which the house needed a thorough all-over scrubbing before they would deem it liveable. We started this with a broom, some rags, and a trip to Target for cleaning supplird. There, my grandmother demanded that I purchase stainless steel cleaner for the kitchen appliances. Yeah, right, as if I would ever touch that can after they drove off, right?

False. I use that shit on the REGULAR. I voluntarily get on my hands and scrub the kitchen floor. I sweep all of the hardwood floors and the steps once a week. I find it difficult to go to sleep without washing all of the dishes in the sink if I contributed to the pile in any way. I regularly get tiny broken curls all over the bathroom on Saturday mornings as I deep condition/detangle, and regularly sweep every nook and cranny of that bathroom on Sundays. I sometimes even fold my clothes immediately after they come out of the dryer.

And if all of that wasn't enough to make me stop and question who the fuck I'm becoming (note: it is), the most ridiculous part is that I get sooooo angry at my housemates for leaving messes. I come home and start muttering to myself about the mail being spread all over the table (when we have canvas totes for it to go in, separated by person!) or dishes being left on the coffee table from the night before or two or three nights before. I curse them out under my breath as I put their dishes in the sink. I wonder aloud how they can stand to live in such squalor. I...realize that I have switched sides in the epic battles JA and I used to have about cleanliness in common spaces.

When the fuck did that happen? When did I become this person who can't stand to see other people's messes fucking up our shared space? I certainly wasn't in college. Hell, I didn't keep my own space clean. 

Granted, these messes (besides the mail) that I cannot tolerate are generally food messes. I hate food mess. Always have, always will. We are not the only things that eat food. Insects and rodents eat food. Leaving food out will attract insects and rodents. I don't *do* insects or rodents, as a rule of life. Thus, clean your shit or I will clean it for you. 

So, the dishes can be explained away fairly easily. Maybe even everything related to the kitchen. But the sweeping dust dogs (too big to be bunnies) down the stairs? The stainless steel cleaner? The mail? Something in me has changed. I have come to know that peaceful satisfaction that arises from your space being clean and orderly. I still hate the cleaning, but afterwards when I look at my shiny kitchen and bathrooms and house, I feel...good. 

And I've been trying to get a handle on that for basically as long as I've been here. Does some switch magically flip on the day you move out of your parents house that makes you care about the little hairball on your floor or shaking out the welcome mat so it looks less dingy? Is holding your diploma generally associated with a growing desire to dust? Ironing my clothes in the morning is attributed to being a working person. Ironing my clothes on the weekends could be called a force of habit. But devoting my Sunday mornings to cleaning the damn house when OBVIOUSLY my two housemates don't give a combined shit (one actually has the nerve to complain about how her boyfriend never cleans his apartment and wants me to sympathize, while I just sit there like BITCH DON'T YOU EVEN)...

I think it generally comes down to I'm spending BANK to live here. Granted, my rent is actually pretty great for DC prices, but still, that check I send off every month makes this bedroom the most expensive thing I've ever paid for. And if nearly $12000 of my good money is gonna go to living here over these thirteen months, then it had better damn well be a place I want to be. It had better damn well be a place I feel ownership over (regardless of the fact that I'm renting). It had better damn well be a place that I don't have to be embarrassed about or make excuses for if I bring someone over. Having chosen this place and paying that $833-plus-utilities every month means I damn sure ain't gon live in squalor...even if that means I feel strangely domestic. I suppose I *should* as this is *my* domicile. Not my mom's house. Not my dorm room. Not a place wherein I'm renting a room for two and a half months. This is my motherfucking space and I'ma do right by it.

[I should say that my older housemate will at least do the dishes from time to time, especially on her days off. The one who's only two years older than me cleaned our shared bathroom once...the day after I'd cleaned it...smh.]  

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