Thursday, 8 May 2008

Cleaning Blues...

I've spent the whole day cleaning. I live in a small apartment, but spent the whole bloody day cleaning. Why is that? I'd wipe one surface, and take a 5 mn break. Sweep one corner, and take another 5 mn. So on and so forth. No wonder it took me the whole bloody day.
And the dust, God the dust...Where did this dust come from? And the paper clips all over the place. Well I know where the paper clips came from. Reading papers and tearing bits and pieces from them...

I've been on my feet for over 8 hours. My feet are sore. My legs hurt. My shoulders ache. My hands are dry. I feel awful. I am tired and drained. But my apartment is clean.

But why did it take me 8 hours ? The living room alone which is not spacious, took me 4 hours. OK am thorough. But still, 4 hours for a few square meters ?

I know why it took me so fucking long. I HATE domestic work.

Yesterday I programmed myself all day for the big event- Cleaning. I really programmed myself with "cleaning affirmations". Repeating them over and over until I summoned the courage to face it today. I guess the clutter I have doesn't help either. I have to remove books, papers, CD's so I can wipe behind, beneath them...And I've got hills of them. What a fucking drag.

The real reason remains the same though and all of the above are just excuses - I HATE domestic work. Hence my slowness...soooo slow.

I was getting irritated with my own pace. The endless breaks, musing over why I hate domestic work so much. A kind of brief self- analysis as to the why's and how's my hatred for domestic work has settled in and refuses to budge.

I couldn't find a particular trauma related to my "domestic work avoidance syndrome". Except maybe for the fact that housework is traditionally associated with women and I've refused such limiting associations.

But clearly that can't be the sole reason. After all, I love cooking. But cooking is a creative act, and cleaning is not. Cleaning is a purifying act. And I guess I've purged enough. And I can't afford domestic help either. So, am stuck with the cleaning blues...

But I devised means and ways to turn the whole thing into a "positive" endeavour.

So I'd clean away and imagine am sitting by some beach. That didn't work.

So I thought of my ex's and how angry they made me hoping to gather more energy so I can finish the job. That didn't work either. I was fuming and cursing and would take even more breaks...

So I switched on the radio . The local station was playing romantic slooowwwwwww songs. Nope, that doesn't do it either. I needed stamina, energy, I can finish this shitty thing called cleaning.

So this brilliant idea crossed my mind. Play some music that makes you want to dance and instead of dancing, clean know, like they do in the cartoons - sweep away and shake your butt in total joy.

I went through my CD's and found exactly what I needed. A salsa CD called "Caliente", a mix of several songs. Yes that's it, I thought to myself. Caliente- hot-energy-stamina-fire-force. That's exactly what I need.

So I put the CD on, and the Cuban tunes were blasting away...

So of course I thought of Cuba and Fidel Castro, and wondered if it was "democratic" of him to hand over his executive powers to his brother Raul. Then my thoughts took me to socialism and how can one have a truly socialistic society and democratic at the same time when the U.S. warmonger is just next door.

Of course, I had to pause again to digest all these thoughts. That was no good. I needed to change the thought register to something more "light."

So here I was mopping the floor and pretending I was dancing Salsa. Then I remembered I can't really dance Salsa.

I took two lessons, ages ago, with a Cuban teacher who was drunk all the time. He'd tell me "dance with your Corazon". And I'd say "sure but I don't know the steps and I need a partner. You're supposed to be teaching me".

But my Cuban teacher used to sit, and pop open another can of beer, leaving me alone wondering which step to take...I heard later he became a skid row bum. I was his only student.

My other attempt at Salsa was here in this tribal land pretending to be o'so modern. They have the Salsa fever here. It's so in vogue. Everyone tries to Salsa.
So some places arrange special evenings for Salsa students or for those who wish to be initiated into it.

Dancing Salsa here is like jumping up and down in a desertic wasteland.

And this is exactly what happened to me.

Upon the suggestion of a friend, I went to this Salsa evening with her. She had caught the fever. I was just bored and wanted to get away from Iraq and Iraqi woes.

So we arrived and everyone was Salsa dancing. I had put on my black dress and high heels...thinking to myself, if I am to salsa, I need to look right for the occasion. You know, like in the Salsa clips. Vamp, supple...and exuding sensuality.

The minute we arrived, my friend saw a group from her Salsa class and she joined them,dancing away. And here I was watching, hoping to try it myself...

So here comes a "local" Salsa student, but he assured me he was in the "advanced group". I assured him I was nothing but a beginner. He said " Don't worry, just let me lead " - I smiled but my heart sank...

I know from experience when a guy says "let me lead" you can be sure, you're heading towards a wall...

Anyways, I yielded and let him lead. The pace was not too fast and the first 5 minutes or so, were fine...But the beat changed, and it took on a more feverish rhythm, and boy was I in for a surprise ride...

I don't know what the fuck happened to the "advanced" Salsa student, but he was suddenly taken by a frenzy - frantic steps, abracadabra... he was all over the place and I was dragged along with him. "Let me lead ?!" - yeah sure !

I found myself propelled to the four corners of the dance stage, not knowing what had hit me...I twisted my ankle and the local "advanced" student, ended up jumping up and down, like in some bedouin folk dance, bruising my toes.

And at every twirl, I'd cry out "ouch my toes, you're stepping on my toes."

"Maa'lech - never mind, dance with your heart..."

Heart, what heart? My toes were throbbing...what heart was he on about? All I wanted was to stop. Just stop. And take my shoes off and soak my feet in ice water.

Thankfully, God has created an End to everything. And the song finished. By the grace of God, it stopped.

So where was I in my cleaning blues ? Ah yes, mopping the floor and shaking my butt just like in the mumbo jumbo cartoons...

Next cleaning session I need to devise more positive thoughts and memories to accompany me...

Any suggestions to chase away the cleaning blues ?

Painting: Iraqi artist, Jaber Alwan.