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)
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.
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…”
“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She’s not perfect – you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can.
She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break – her heart. So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyze and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there.”