clean.

Data Dumping
4 min readMar 20, 2021

There is something about this COVID19 and the consumers’ raid on hand sanitizers over soap- why are we so keen on overlooking the gift members of first world countries have access to in the pandemic: access to soap and clean running water. So let’s talk about soap and cleaning patterns.

I like to think I am a decently clean individual. It does not mean that clumps of my hair don’t stare at me from the corner of my shower on occasion. I know I will get to it eventually. I am terrible at keeping my personal spaces tidy when I am depressed. When I am happy, I will clean when stressed. I learned that is my personal practice when I was residing at UMES. I was the happiest I had been in my teens in that space- I had friends that I liked and that seemed to reciprocate my feelings for a season. We had our collective disagreements but I would keep our communal spaces tidy as a response to having some control over the way these spaces were interacted with. In my aunt’s home, keeping the space clean was a kind of torture. It was never a chore to look forward to or entered in without being forced or angry about having to clean up after other people.

The same passion for keeping my space clean occurred when I moved into my first apartment. I enjoyed keeping that place clean. I loved the balcony that one would access through the bathroom. I valued the size of the kitchen. In all my personal homes, my kitchen has always been big enough for me to host a small family. I should have picked up on my depression when my ex came to visit me while I was between employment. I was about to start my new gig with a smaller nonprofit and was bummed about how I had left my first job to a degree. I had a week off between both gigs and I let my hygiene go to the point that picking up the habit made me ten minutes late on my first day. I spent the time off reading the Southern Vampire series and not worrying about anything.

Looking at it, I think I was worried if I had done the right thing leaving my old gig. I was not happy in it. I was tired of being alone and losing potential friendships due to my lack of money or just not being willing to be embrace being messy without judgement. The ex swung by during this week, took one look at me and left. She told me later that she never saw me like that and it turned her off of me. It should have been a warning of how she would accept me. I personally would have looked beyond the lapse of hygiene and asked if there was some way I can help. She chose not to do that. It should have been a red flag.

When it came to owning my house, I had cleaning up timed to a science in the first two years. I could clean the public spaces in eight hours and have dinner on the table for my gamers. When I got fired from the library and was living for school, I took a turn back to the space of not caring. I had roommates that did not care as well. I could not shake the slow slide into neglect enough to keep away roaches. It took some time to acquire them but when they started to come, I finally woke up to my problem. When my first foreclosure took a turn for the worst and the brother activated my abandonment issues, I cleared the house of useless people and cleaned up. Thank the gods for the job that saved me in my final hour.

I let my kitchen get a mess again when one of my roommates who shared my passion for kitchen things moved in. It was not messy so much as we needed the space organized. I hired out and had my kitchen whipped into shape while I sorted my office to accept new energy. All in all, it was a fun time cleaning house for me. I managed to keep up on it until my need to leave the property permanently. When I left for Malta, my time committed to cleaning up varied. I moved from my home into someone else’s rental. I cleaned up after myself. I left my personal bathroom a bit of a mess.

What besides COVID made me think about cleaning? My roommate in my current state. As the primary leaseholder, I have been kind of forced to adhere to their chosen standards of cleanliness. They are Southern. So they are house proud and enjoy a clean home. So it is amusing, and a bit annoying, to be pushed to take on someone else’s standard of cleanliness. But it is not keeping clean that is the problem so much as the habit of memory. I do not mind cleaning but I do loathe a nag at my poor memory.

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