On Monday night I got told off for cleaning too much.
This has literally never happened to me before. I have been told off for not cleaning enough. Or not cleaning when it is my turn to do so. Or not cleaning ever. I have had flatmates draw up endless rotas to try and guilt me into cleaning. I have had parents ground me for months at a time because I live in utter filth.
I have spent 27 years extolling the virtues of floorganisation and claiming that bathrooms are self-cleaning and that having to mountaineer over a pile of crap to get to your bed just tests how much whoever is sharing that bed really wants to be there. And when I was single and had no real need for the other side of the bed, I used it to store yet more crap; DVD boxes, and books, and plates that had previously held toast, and clothes and makeup and whatever else happened to find its way there.
Now I think of it, I can see why so many former flatmates found living with me such an exasperating experience.
But now, apparently, I clean too much. I do it every Sunday. It is part of my weekly routine, and not only do I get the guilt if I miss it, I actually kind of look forward to doing it.
We’ve been in the house a year now, and I’m proud that our shower’s grouting is not even a little bit discoloured. And that our carpets don’t have endless amounts of fluff stuck so deeply in the fibres that it is never, ever coming out. I even quite like cleaning the kitchen sink (and now that I do so, I am a little bit disgusted with myself for the years spent not doing it).
And there’s one key word that’s in there, and is the reason I’ve become weirdly cleaning obsessed. “Our”. This is, after all, our house now. We have committed to paying HSBC a load of money every month for the next 24 years (because today is one year houseaversary, so that’s one year down) so that it can be ours. And if we let it fall into a disgusting state of grimy disrepair then all that is going to happen is that we’ll trash the value and do ourselves out of money.
Besides which, if I must be indebted to HSBC for the rest of time, then I want it to be for something that’s nice. I don’t want to open my mortgage statement and see how I’ve barely made a dent in it and look around me at piles of crap and go “really, I’ve done that for THIS?”.
And maybe, my dad was actually a little bit right and it is nicer to live in a clean environment than in one that is probably spawning new diseases all the time.
But still, perhaps I do not need to set aside four hours every Sunday in which to clean. Perhaps I could use some of that time doing things like sitting, or seeing people, or leaving the house.
Or maybe I should just use it to apologise to everyone I ever lived with for what I now realise must’ve been horrific levels of filth.