If you were to look through my childhood photo albums, you’d eventually come across a picture of me vacuuming the house at the mature age of three.
“You got dirt? I’ll be right over as soon as mommy gives me a shirt.” – That was my entrepreneurial tagline as a 3-year-old cleaning tycoon. This may or may not be true.
In the years that followed, I learned how to fold laundry, clean windows, and Windex the mirrors. Windex was my favourite. Those squirt bottles were so fun; still are.
I was paid a handsome fee for my labour – a nice shiny dime. On some occasions, I’d receive a quarter. Oh man, was I rich! I owned property in three different continents by the age of nine.
Before I knew it, I was washing dishes and scrubbing the bathtub. I don’t know why. It just seemed like fun.
That desire to help, and to clean things, was built into my DNA to the point where it became second nature.
My high school cafeteria drove me nuts. Kids thought it was cool to leave all their garbage on the table instead of throwing it in a bin on their way out. I’d see the smile on their face, as they escaped the cafeteria without a teacher calling them back to clean up.
Some people are just stupid and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I always felt bad watching the janitors go over to a table and clean up someone else’s garbage.
When I got to university, I guess people assumed that because I was a guy, my room and bathroom would look like an indoor swamp.
Girls would say, “Wow, your bathroom is pretty clean…for a couple of guys.”
What were they expecting? Bodily fluids in a bucket? We had a toilet! And we knew how to use it!
My room was connected to another person’s room via the bathroom. We never had conversations about cleaning, or who’s turn it was to take out the garbage.
If the garbage bag got full, one of us would take it out. Simple!
We also didn’t have a million things on the counter because why would we? All we had was soap. The rest was kept in our rooms until we needed it.
Apparently, girls don’t operate that way. Oh man, the war zones I witnessed. Every square inch of the bathroom was covered with something. Even the back of the doors. The counters disappeared beneath a million different items.
I’m not judging, I’m just painting the picture.
And then passive aggressive post-it notes would be left on the mirror, informing the other person that it was their week to clean and take out the garbage.
There is nothing that makes me laugh more than a passive aggressive post-it note, telling someone to clean because you cleaned last week. I can laugh for hours about it.
Even if the garbage bag was overflowing, some people would not take it out as a sign of protest. They would refuse to do it because they had done it the last two times.
That is a level of pettiness that is so unbelievable to me, even though I witnessed it on numerous occasions.
All they had to do was walk down the hall, dump it out into a bigger garbage bin, and walk back to their room. They made it seem like they had to walk backwards through quicksand, while eating ice cream, and balancing a dictionary on their head.
Full disclosure: I can be organized, but that doesn’t mean everything is sitting straight on a shelf. I wouldn’t classify myself as anything close to a neat freak. I vacuumed my room once every four months at school, just because of room inspections. If there was dust on my desk or shelf, I’d (eventually) remove it with a Kleenex.
And yet, I was being praised for having a clean room because (apparently) the standard for men to be clean is so low, that it comes as a shock when a guy’s room doesn’t have a million things on the floor.
I’ve never been a “clothes on the floor” person, except for socks. To me, the idea of throwing a shirt on the floor is like putting a pizza slice through a paper shredder. I just don’t think to do it.
So, I’m sorry for not being the shabby baboon you thought I’d be.
In my final year, I volunteered my room to be shown on university tours for two reasons:
1. I would get $5 every time there was a tour group OR $2 every time I answered my phone for them to tell me there wasn’t a tour group. Free money!
2. As a prospective student, I never saw a guy’s room on any university tour I went on.
And all I had to do was throw clothes in the closet, roll up the bedsheets, pretend I hadn’t just woken up or gotten out of the shower, smile, and be personable. No problemo. I am a delight. Welcome to Chez Paulo. Hors d’oeuvre?
I didn’t even mind having 25 people prance through my room with wet boots in the winter because I’m not opposed to messes being made. Stuff happens.
Nowadays, my biggest pet peeve is when an empty toilet paper roll isn’t replaced (you want to see me yell, do this), or dirty dishes are left in the sink “to soak” (big lie).
Those dishes soak so long they wrinkle.
I hate the idea of leaving dishes in the sink, knowing my mom will come along later and have to clean them. That’s not fair.
Back when I worked at camp, some people would return lunch containers to the kitchen after the chef had already gone home, which meant those containers sat on the counter until the next morning – full of food scraps.
And that meant the chef would have to clean them the next day before preparing lunch.
I didn’t think that was right, so some days after camp if I noticed lunch containers lying around, I’d empty them out and clean them before going home. This is the first time I’ve told anyone that.
Another time, I stopped to clean up a juice spill. Had no idea who did it, just that it was there on the floor. Someone saw me cleaning it up and asked why I didn’t just leave it and call the janitor?
Didn’t even cross my mind. I’m not wired that way. I’ve always been a helper.
We’re all programmed differently. What is second nature to me, is the biggest hassle in the world to someone else. I really don’t understand it. Is it laziness? Is it the month we were born in?
If you want to keep yourself up at night, go attend a sporting event and watch the human behaviour that takes place inside the restroom.
Spoiler Alert: Two out of five men won’t wash their hands after urinating.
That’s not a real statistic, it’s just the running tally in my head that I add to during my ventures to the men’s room.
What am i supposed to do? Call them out on it? Chase them down on the concourse with a bottle of soap? No. But if you’re looking for a reason not to hold the railing as you walk to your seat, there it is.
I don’t know if I’m a germaphobe, or if I just believe in common sense. What’s the difference?
If you walk away from this thinking my middle name is, Pristine, then you’d be wrong. There are things in my bedroom I should’ve gotten rid of years ago, but they’re still here collecting dust.
I’m not perfect, but I try to help out.
Besides, I’ve always viewed the vacuum as a hockey stick that sucks up dirt and all I’m doing is stick handling around the house.
I can relate anything back to sports, it’s one of my talents.
I don’t know how to conclude this post. Should I tell you to go clean something?
Oh, I got it. Okay, here’s the conclusion.
It must have been dust but it’s vacuumed now
It must have been a mess but I cleaned it somehow
It must have been dust but it’s vacuumed now
From the moment we sneezed ’til the Kleenex had run out.
And there it is, the chorus to “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette, reworded to reflect this post.
You love it, don’t even question it.
With that, I bid you all an achoo! Bless you.
Are you messy? Are you a cleaner? What month of the year were you born in? I’m looking to make correlations. Do you get frustrated when people leave a mess behind? Tell me anything related to this post. I’m here for it.
If you haven’t checked out the comments section of Share Your Blog 2019, I’d advise that you do. By my count, 53 people have shared their blog.