The Cleaning Wave

The Cleaning Wave comes rarely.

But when it does, it always begins with a whispered internal thought.  “I’ll rinse off my coffee cup and put it in the dishwasher,” you think, innocently.  Then you decide to wipe down the sink, until the stainless steel is bright and gleaming.  “That looks nice,” you think.

Then the wave begins to build, as waves always do.  The next thing you know, you’re wiping down the countertops, cleaning the range, and sweeping the kitchen floor.  “Hey, the kitchen looks great!,” you realize.

You could stop there, but by now the wave has got you and is rushing you forward, tumbling and unstoppable, and you move to another room and then to another and yet another, fussily straightening and polishing and putting away, until no surface in the house is uncluttered and there is a noticeable scent of Windex in the air and you begin to think about reorganizing the pantry or tackling the “messy drawer” that is found in every kitchen.  But then a kernel of doubt creeps in, and you wonder whether you really want to spend your whole blessed Saturday on a room or a drawer that is just going to end up in three weeks looking like it does right now, anyway.

By then, the cleaning wave has been spent.  It has crashed onto the shores of “messy drawer” reality, leaving you dazed and your place ready to greet the Queen of England — so long as she doesn’t go into the pantry or pull open that drawer.  And you think:  “You know, every house really needs a messy drawer.”

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