In this city, this congested, smoky city, one has two options. One can either live with the rot, the filth, the pathogens and the deterioration or one can simply clean the rot. There is one clear option for me – CLEAN!
Every time I look on the street on my way to work, it’s there, festering, growling, lurking, mocking and sticking onto every passerby. They are the germs, the pathogens, the dust, the mould, the rotting diaper and dog crap. All is there, sitting, hiding in the dumpsters of the streets. Everywhere one steps, it sticks. Sometimes I wish to stop and pick every bacterium off the bottom of my shoe, the hairs of my coat and my actual skin.
I loathe it – the germs, the bacteria, the dirt, the oil hanging loosely in the air being sucked into my clean lungs and my body. I loathe its trickery, it mocks me. I walk fast from work and I remove every item of clothing and wash it in disinfectant. I must! Allowing them to harvest eggs onto my clothes and my body sickens me, annoys me and makes me desire to regurgitate. I dip into the bathtub and my mantra awakens: scrub and clean, scrub and clean, scrub and clean, clean and scrub! I know that when I’m fully cleansed, my skin will feel wonderfully sore. I must quickly remove myself from the bath for the germs will return, they always know their host!
I get dressed and scrub the entire apartment clean. Beauty is a price paid daily and cleaning the house is no exception. I clean the house till it’s spotless, then clean again in disinfectant. I must clean it or the germs will wreak havoc on my world! They are disgusting and must be fully annihilated. Germs kill two million Americans a year. I cannot be killed. I cannot be killed. I cannot be a breeding ground for the parasites of the invisible world. I must fight, even though my husband had allowed himself to be taken over by the dust and the grime of The Apple, I cannot.
I am at war with the germs every day. I am at times fearful, cowardly, but I must always remember that cleaning brings a peaceful rest at night and that life is already too short to allow myself to be taken over by the two billion types of bacteria and scum. I must fight this good fight; buying and using all the Clorox, Lysol and Ajax I can get in. I must scrub the counters, the sinks, vacuum the carpet. I must clean the windows; wash the clothes, the sheets, the bedspreads until they are at peace because the germs have retreated.
I read the paper today, after covering my hands in gloves to avoid any new breed of bacteria from the print shop. I read that the human lips has at least one million strains of bacteria and the human skin for every cubic centimetre has at least four million bacteria and dust particles. I was appalled, and my effort felt dejected. For all the powerful cleaning I have done, especially in the bodily area, were all in vain. Bacteria have festered and will fluster wherever humans live, wherever humans trample and sought to form a new variety in their gene pool. But what will I do now? Will I become another subject of the king virus or king dust-bunny?! Will I become like other humans who accept the germs as they are and sought to live with them, like them?! Must I now stoop and live at their level of disorder and chaos?! I will certainly not! I will certainly not! I will certainly not! I will improve my efforts; man more of my battle stations with more disinfectants. Either that or die trying! And if I am forced to live in a bubble - a germ free bubble, I will do so with bells on my feet and a grin and taunt at the germs themselves. I will not be subject to new authority! I will certainly not!
- Dispelling the Myths of Green Cleaning (greenne.com)
- An Antibacterial Cleaning Solution That Is Eco Friendly Too (daimerindustries.typepad.com)
- The average kitchen sink harbors more germs than a toilet (greenreview.blogspot.com)
- How Cleaning Green Can Improve Your Life (newfrontierslifecoaching.wordpress.com)
- Surprising Places Germs Can Hide (everydayhealth.com)
I’m overly logical.
I state the facts.
Facts and concrete evidence are comforting ideals.
The problem with facts is that not everyone appreciates the truth or the facts of a situation.
And this isn’t a criticism of what choose to accept or reject. Many truths are marred with malice, but not all.
Facts and truths are more than just that; they govern how I view situation or tackle a relationship.
I have many friends who share the same sentiment.
My one friend has several half-siblings, many who she’s met quite late in life. Many who she’s happily gotten along with and some she hasn’t. But in it all, she’s always introduced them and regarded them as her half-siblings.
Recently, one of her brothers had a heated argument. He hated how he’s viewed as the “half-brother” and decided to attack her for this. The argument lead to immature name calling.
We sat and discussed it. I agreed with her logic: he was her half-brother. Yes they had the same father, but they didn’t share entire upbringings, morals etc. He was half of it all.
She even confessed to only mildly caring about him and his well-being.
I can’t dictate the extent to which you can care for a sibling. I just agree with the facts and I don’t find the fact repulsive or appalling. Judging someone on the extent they care for another isn’t in my interest.
If a sibling labelled me or introduced me as half, I honestly wouldn’t flinch. Why? Because it’s the truth. It’s not malicious intent. Some people are different. Maybe the psychology of the brother wanted a whole family unit, something he lacked within his own childhood. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, he refused to see or acknowledge half-truths or half-families.
Love and family unions run deeper than the mere 25% she happens to share with him. Bonding and caring about another person is what makes families so unique.
However, in the same breath, I could understand my friend’s predicament and her psychological need to state and acknowledge the facts. I can understand her candour, and I can understand his anger, but I don’t see the need for anger.
What say you?
It had been a long week.
My Friday plans: work, an afternoon case review and a private cash-in-hand gig I had taken to make some extra money.
I woke up feeling exhausted and distressed.
Most people looked forward to their weekend; mine was going to be filled with paperwork and long hours.
I stood in the mirror and stared at the redness of my eyes.
They were so hollow.
I felt dulled by the morning fog.
I got dressed, had coffee and toast and ran to meet my colleagues for the taxi.
It was 7am and an hour-long drive awaited me to a remote country town for an assignment.
I maintained my composure during the bumpy ride and exchanged banter with my colleagues.
Entering the briefing room, we all sat with solemn expressions.
Back arched, notes out, I was mentally fit for the session.
Physically however, I felt uncomfortable.
For some reason, things in the chest area felt loose and bouncier than usual.
Gravity’s effect felt heavy and my back felt like it was supporting a heavier weight.
I looked down in confused shock.
The breasts looked softer and the curves were much more noticeable.
I excused myself, ran to the bathroom and checked.
In complete disbelief, I touched my breasts, touched my shoulders and finally looked down my blouse.
“Oh sh–, I FORGOT TO PUT ON A BRA!”
Who in the history of women-dom has ever forgotten to put on a bra?
I’m aware of when the bra stays off: at home, in the shower, in bed etc.
In a meeting? Throughout a bumpy hour-long drive? How did I not feel the tug of gravity on my chest when the cab driver swerved to avoid that dead rabbit?!
What on earth happened whilst I was getting ready?
I replayed this morning’s scene in my head: I wasn’t in a rush, I was calm but tired, yet somehow, my brain made my hands skip adhering my friggin’ bra to my chest.
My mind panicked and worried: Early-onset dementia? Would I have to start tying strings around my finger to remind myself to put on my bra? Or set a calendar reminder every day for the rest of my life to strap support to my chest?
Now I stared at myself in the mirror.
Not only were they swinging lower than usual, but the cold office air had brought on its effect and made another pair of small hills underneath my purple blouse.
I tried patting them down with no luck.
Walking into the bathroom was Carla, who I shared my problem with, hoping for empathy, but mostly for her thick, woolly sweater.
Then handed me her sweater and wondered how could I forget?
“I can understand an A or B cup going without a bra….but a C? You’re a C cup! How could you not feel it or sense it?”
Carla made me feel as if I lost my womanhood senses.
The bra misfortune was the first red flag, any more and my gender, intuition and all that came with it would be questioned and stripped.
“I’ve been having a tough week Carla.”
“I hoped you checked you have panties on as well!”
More raucous laughter from whom I hoped was an empathizer.
You can’t buy sympathy nowadays.
But just make sure I had them on, I laughed and subtlety grazed my hip.
Yep, they were on.
I excused myself, went to the meeting and sat straight, back arched with breasts swinging lower than usual.
“Besides he dresses horribly…”
“He smells like he never showers; count yourself lucky you don’t have to lay with his rancid-ass anymore.”
“I saw him kissing some slut outside a gig last week….it was disgusting, she looked like she belonged in an alley”
My turn: “….and he has eczema..!”
Everyone turned and looked at me.
All my girlfriends turned and said: “M…what?”
Male-bashing is primarily a post breakup ritual.
It exhibits itself other times as well, but post-breakup, it’s a compliant code of conduct.
Most days I’m pretty colourful with my insults, but today, for the 5th day in a row, I was pretty exhausted.
I couldn’t think of anything more insulting to say about “J”.
Him and “L” we dating less than a year when she found out…wait for it…he cheated and he was bi-sexual.
She suspected his propensity for all things feminine, but the cheating was of course, unacceptable.
She was the conservative and her male counterpart would always be the wild-emotionally-vulnerable-need-to-be-fixed-man-whore, which is fine, because I can always count on a soap-dramasque story to entertain my inbox.
My problem was Keeping Up Appearances.
There were only so many Friday nights I could spend picking out flaws on men who I hardly met, let alone do so objectively. I know it’s silly to even think that in any girlfriend support situation, objectivity is priority, but hey-ho, that’s me and my “benefit of the doubt” theory.
Tonight of course was wine, tissues and male-bashing.
“K” started it off, and alternatively, as a group should, we continued bashing.
I hoped a slow-witted comment on eczema would bring comedy and maybe change the subject.
It didn’t, so I poured another glass a wine…
“M, you know L has eczema as well, how could you say that with such disdain? It’s a sensitive issue! It’s no one’s choice to get eczema!”
I drank more…
“I mean really, if you can’t support L right now, maybe you should go.”
I would, except my Friday night had nothing else on the agenda.
“No it’s alright M, don’t worry. He never took care of himself, and he was bad in bed!”
Here we go; the good stuff.
“I mean what kinda of man needs a weight lifting belt for sex? And you know after he finished, he always did a celebration dance, like he scored a touchdown, and when I gave oral, he smoked and had the nerve to drop the ashes in my hair!”
Fits of giggles across the room and a snort from me.
Geez, women put up with anything these days.
I felt sorry for L and proud. She ended it, but I wonder how much horrific or humiliating things she put up with before the cheating came to light.
“…ugh and I remember our second date when he took me to a sports bar and sneaked in McDonalds burgers because he didn’t want to pay for bar lunch. I thought it was frugal and thoughtful, but looking back, he never cared!”
“…and my underwear always went missing! I had to start buying the cheap stuff now, ugh, vile right?”
“Totally! And ew!”
I didn’t say much after that, solely because it was all being said for me.
I know I would get the phone call the next morning chastising me for being the idiot at the ritual, but what they saw as unsupportive, I saw as preserving my perception of relationships….and being bored.
I sent L flowers the next day with lovely a hopeful message.
Did I mean it?
Of course! Isn’t it customary to end the male-bashing weekend with empty messages of hope?
I’ve fallen in love with Daley’s voice.
This version resonates with a different dimension that Madonna couldn’t have achieved.
His mixtape was sounds like a hot pot of soul and modern heartache.
I came home, excited and starving.
I had grits in the cupboard, and a mini gourmet indulgence in the fridge: red peppers, feta cheese, spinach, eggs.
My plan for my short lunch hour was to cook an omelette with grits and start to stuffus mon faceus.
My lunch hour isn’t spectacular and I don’t boast about being a great cook. What I know how to make and make well, I thoroughly indulge in with deep sighs and big mug of coffee.
Unbeknownst to me, my lunch hour was going to be a bit different. Scratch that, enormously different.
I took out all my ingredients, laid them out, started dancing and simultaneously licking my lips.
It was a joyous occasion.
I opened the egg crate and therein sat 2 empty egg shells.
I retraced the events of my last cooking bonanza in my brain and came up with no memory of having used my eggs in the past week.
My first word: mother—arrrggghhhh!
Technically not a word, more like a word transforming into hulk-like sounds.
My eggs were taken by some thieving pirate who no doubt enjoyed every minute of the egg heist.
I screamed every horrible thing I could think of and put together every random insult:
“WHO STEALS EGGS?!”
“WHAT THE FARK ARE YOU? A FOX?!?”
“WHO IN THE HOLY-BONFIRE-THAT-WILL-STRIKE-THIS-KITCHEN STOLE MY EGGS?!”
Not very inventive, but I was fuming.
That’s what happening when you live in a house filled with callous strangers.
My roommate ran in, and of course shocked.
“Your eggs got stolen and they left the empty eggs shells in the crate?!”
My other roommate yelled: “Are you sure you didn’t eat them and left them there in a rush?”
Why would I, the obsessive control freak, leave empty egg shells? No no, my eggs were here and now stolen by some animalistic hussy!
What if I were dying and this was my last meal?
What if I had an impromptu lunch guest?
This person had no care for my plans. They stole my eggs.
I was egg-less. It was an egg tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
After we all tired of the shocked discussion, I packed my condiments away and head held low marched upstairs, grabbed a marker and notepad and wrote lewd notes everywhere.
“I hope you choke on the egg next time you snake!”
The logic is impossible – can snakes choke on eggs?
“Keep you grubby fingers off my food!”
Hardly threatening right?
“You inconsiderate, conniving pig!”
“I hope next time you steal them a big, bloody wet, pre-developed chick falls out!”
My roommate, the vegetarian was of course shocked, but my furore had no bounds. I was outta control and vulgar. I loved it.
I came home at 5 and saw a note attached to a new crate of eggs: “Sorry I borrowed your eggs, I was really hungry and hadn’t gotten any money till today, hope you can forgive me. Xxx”
I felt slightly crummy. “Xxx” didn’t leave a name, but as much as I felt sad for my hungry roommate, I still thought it would have been a lot more courteous to ask for my eggs.
I gave up the anger, had dinner.
Craving dessert, I skipped to the freezer; except, when I reached for the ice cream box, it was empty.
Surely no one is so hungry that ice cream would be an option?!
“WHAT THE FARK?! WHO STOLE MY FLIPPING ICE CREAM AND HAD THE BRAZEN BALLS TO LEAVE THE EMPTY BOX IN THE FREEZER?! ARRRGGGHHH!!”
What are we then, but dust in the wind?
What have we to say over that which renders us powerless?
How do we fight when our inner workings cower in fear, in shame, in disgust?
Where is our glory? Where is our strength?
How do we fight battles with obstacles made to de-stabilise beings?
Where is the courage of our ancestors?
We fear the complexities of the world and bask in the simplicities, yet still feeling hopeless in it all.
How can we sit and ignore modern marvels, modern anguish?
We have shifted our faith, given up our hopes and aspirations to wallow through meaningless paths.
We live with no ambitions, miserably envying those which dare to run and find hidden paths.
We blame all but ourselves. It’s nature, the universe, the forceful need to conform to a belief & a philosophy.
But we never challenge ourselves, never challenge our thoughts.
We are but dust in the wind.
So I’m at a hip-hop concert…
The scene is set: music blaring, people shouting and we indulge it all.
We sing, laugh, we etch the night into our memories as “The Best”.
The patriarchal lyrics are sordid but of course we insist it’s culturally reflective of our struggle.
We vibe, we smoke.
We’re 18, young and full of colossal naiveté.
Tonight, one friend invited another.
We stood next to each other and I passed her a smile. She giggled and placed her hand on her chest, belting out: TUUUUUNNNNNEEEEE!!!!!!”
I knitted my brow in quiet shock.
Porcelain-toned, excited, wide-eyed; she loved hip-hop.
“Nigga you don’t knoooowwww!!!”
I had a number of friends who skipped over it.
The question to its current relevance, its cultural impact, and unfair usage [“But why can’t we say it?!”] was never discussed, it was understood.
But she belted it out defiantly, smiling, one hand in the air, no mercy.
My friend tapped me and pointed. We stood staring at the new problem.
Nonchalant, she clapped.
Our eyes stared trying to reprimand her. But she was calm and ready for the next song.
18 and naïve, we never thought to have a collective will to understand our history and defend its evolution. We never asked “Why the women? Why the lyrics? When did degradation become Hiphop’s torch? Where had the artistry gone?”
Black power tees, ankh necklaces and large hair; ethno-centricity was our motto, our trend, but we had no depth.
18, serious and resolved, we sent the brave to her fort:
“Hey, you don’t need to say Nigga…”
“Why not? It’s just a word…”