I’ve never fought a pack of gorillas while wearing retro rollerskates while trying to run on a treadmill, but I now I know what it feels like because I’ve made the mistake of trying to clean my house. To put how I live into very nice terms, I’m a bit messy. To put it into realistic terms, I’m a slob with a crazy schedule that doesn’t afford many opportunities to clean. To put it into unkind terms, I’m a huge idiot.
Undeniable idiocy aside, I’m beginning to find a way of forcing myself to clean that works well. Anyone who knows me or has seen me from a distance can attest to the fact that I’m a big ol’ dork. Looking at me, you’d see someone who looks exhausted and like they’ve definitely been sweating recently, and you’d also pick out some undefinable quality that whispers to your subconscious: this one thinks about dragons too much. A cursory glance over the unfavorable details of my person and personality reveals the truth: I’m usually tired, have been or am currently sweating because I live in an oven, and I do indeed live with my head firmly lodged in the clouds. And now I’m using some of that weirdness to my advantage to clean the hell out of my house.
Picture this: a grown adult at work in the kitchen. Nothing weird so far. Now, add to the picture a few details that may change that. On the counter is a computer, and from it blares the majestic soundtrack from Lord of the Rings. Suddenly, looking at the figure in the kitchen you notice all the shameful details of the performance they’re putting on. It’s not just that this person is doing the dishes while swaying to the sound of the music. It’s that they’re swaying so a blanket draped over their shoulders will shift limply with their lethargic movements, but you know they’re imagining the blanket is a billowing cape because they keep dramatically throwing it back off their shoulders every time they use it to dry their hands.
Now the picture changes. The kitchen cleaner is done with the dishes and holding a broom. However, they are not holding the broom like anyone who has ever seen one used would hold it, nor like anyone who only has a theoretical knowledge of broomery. Rather, they are holding the broom with two hands at the very tip of the long wooden handle, and they are pointing the entire object at a bored-looking cat sitting on the counter. You hear “Back beast, your hoard is mine” and are embarrassed on behalf of everyone involved: the cleaner because they’re clearly holding a broom like a sword, the cat because it looks like it is absolutely not invested in the fantasy as it licks a paw and silently ponders running away, and the broom which probably just wants to rub itself on the floor and get rid of dust the old fashioned way.
I get bored when I clean. Really bored. So lately I’ve taken to imagining the grime that coalesced mysteriously in my home as an evil that must be slain. My cat is witness to all of this, and she’s not impressed either. When I was in high school, I imagined classes were enemies and tests were brief painful bouts of violence with them. Now that I’m older, I haven’t matured all that much in a lot of ways. It’s still fun to imagine my cat is a dragon protecting a hoard of dirty dishes. Anyone reading this might–correctly–label me as a big nerd, but I challenge anyone to not enjoy cleaning a little more when you think of washing dishes as polishing the looted treasure of a scaled archetype of capitalist greed instead of rubbing old food and grease from dishes that you’ll inevitably get dirty again.