Cleaning Hades

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I hate that there’s no such thing as spotless.

It’s very discouraging. I try to live a clean and organized life but I’m a flawed human being as we all are, and sometimes I don’t have the energy to clean up after myself by washing the two dishes I used in making my single person dinner. Dust gathers in my home, as it does anywhere else, but there may be something about the ventilation in my building that makes things get especially dusty. If the dust settles on the floor, sweeping and mopping just collect it into one loose string that either sticks to the bristles of the broom or sticks to the floor as the line of where your mop last stopped. I stare down at those and feel like nothing is ever worth it. Handled dusters fail to live up to the promises in their commercial jingles; the only way to really get dust out of the way is with a damp rag and once you use that once the first collection of dust will get stuck to the next surface you use it on, much like the wet line at the end of the mop.

I’m sure I’m using inferior products. I’m cheap. I’m sure there are superior ways of doing this, but I will defensively dismiss anything people tell me now as condescending. My house was cleaned every one or two weeks for most of my childhood, so my mother didn’t show me the tricks that could make my life much easier or at least make me more confident in the quality of my surroundings. I fear I live in filth, because I missed some of the dust on the top of the baseboards.

And I don’t see these things at other people’s houses. I’m sure they’re there; I don’t notice them. I’m focused on other things when I’m with other people, a guest in their home. Usually I’m interacting with them, or their adorably cute kittens, or big friendly dogs. It takes quite a layer of dust for me to notice anything imperfect about a place except my own. I don’t have people to interact with, to keep my eyes occupied, to distract me from what needs to be done. Instead I know what I need to do – the problem is I’ve done it before, with at most 95% success, and that 5% of dust left really gets me down. From that underwhelmed feeling to the accumulating disappointment as more dust and dirt settles in, it’s a losing battle. Cleaning is sisyphean. It’s the boulder that I can never quite push to the top of that hill.

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