they say you don't know what you got 'til it's gone / / they say that your darkest hour comes before your dawn

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clean;

What I'm about to post here, is something I wrote over two years ago. A very long time for me to further develop my writing skills, and yet I've failed to do such a thing. This has to be one of my favourite pieces that I've ever written. Criticism is welcome, but only if it's constructive. Also, I used to type like an idiot, so if there are any punctuation, grammar or spelling errors, I have only myself to blame. It's long, so bear with me.

My laptop is dirty. It’s got me thinking about my life; It’s completely covered in dust and watermarks. It needs a clean. I have to dust off every shelf and wipe over every window, whether I enjoy it or not. I think I prefer to see life much like a room. There are walls with shelves to which I place many things upon, the floor which I stand upon, a bed for when I feel like taking time out from life, a roof that keeps me sheltered from the outside world, a large window to see the world see through and for people to see into me, and a door; for leaving.

I've let things become far too filthy and I have to remove all the stains that I have ignored for some time now. There’s no doubt in my mind that some stains are permanent and no matter how hard I scrub at them, they won’t be removed. For those stains, I'll just have to deal with them as best I can, and then cover them up so they won't be seen. Worst case scenario; I'll just cut out that bit and replace it. The only problem there is I'll be cutting out areas which I'd rather leave untouched. Once cut out, I can't put it back and the new substance that will replace that area will also replace what I want to keep. Suppose if I want it gone for good, drastic measures must be taken.

A bigger problem has just arisen; Where the hell do I begin to clean ? What needs to be cleaned first; the messiest area or an area with higher importance ? Should I clean the window to let in better light for the rest of the room ? Do I clean the floor first so I don't tread on anything important or make more mess ? Should I work my way down starting at the roof and finishing at the floor ? Or work my way up ? Easiest mess or hardest mess ? Whatever choice I make, all I know is that I must clean.

When I think about how I actually clean my own room, I realise that I start with my bed. I make sure that my bed is clean, the sheets and pillow cases have been changed, I flip the mattress sometimes, put everything back all clean and make my bed. Then I use that as a table for the things I want to keep. Occasionally it’s a table for my clothes that I sort out into piles so I can easily put them away.

Next comes the floor, which is covered in so much mess that it’s hard to step on real floor and not items carelessly placed everywhere. I pick up the clothes first and sort them out, seeing as that's the most effective way to rid the floor of mess. Then I crawl under my bed and find all the things that I've kicked or dropped under there. After all the necessary items have been picked up off the floor, I pick up all the rubbish. All the letters I've left on the ground, all the receipts that have fallen out of bags, all the scraps of general rubbish that's managed to accumulate.

After cleaning the floor, I usually start on shelves covered in complete shit. I use my bed, once again, as a table and place all the things I'd like to keep on my bed and throw the rest away straight into a rubbish bag. I debate for a considerable amount of time whether I should keep something or not. Will I use it again ? Is it going to come in handy one day ? Do I really need it ? Simple questions that I ask myself and yet I fail to find a simple answer. Yes, no and probably not. What am I meant to do ? I think I will use it again but I'm not sure it will be handy and I don’t really need it, so throw it out. By now my garbage bag is quite full and busting at the seems. I start another bag.

Then I find the sentimental things; the ones with value money could never understand. A teddy bear, numerous other stuffed toys, letters from friends written too long ago, the shirts that I live in, ticket stubs from gigs and irreplaceable band items (picks, drums sticks, set lists) from my favourite Adelaide local band, Her Latest Flame. These items are placed on my bed in a specific area I had been saving for these exact pieces of memory. I reassess the sentimental value of each piece and determine where I will place it when I finally get around to putting things back on the shelves.

After the bed, floor and shelves have been cleared of everything; I bring out the cleaning products. I make sure I have a cloth and a bucket of water for dust, window cleaner for the obvious, a broom for getting cobwebs if there are any, and a vacuum cleaner to get any dust that my cloth didn’t and anything that remains on the floor. All the shelves are cleaned first and then I wipe over all the items that are going to be placed on the shelf so there’s no dust being returned. I next proceed to the floor and vacuum everywhere. Then comes the window, which I spend a lot of time on. I have to make sure I get the watermarks and fingerprints off the inside side of the window. I'm careful enough not to leave streaks all over the place. Then I got outside and clean the other side, as careful as the inside side.

After all this cleaning has been done, the room is looking much neater and feels cleaner. Glances around the room outline areas that have been stained and the efforts I placed into removing them. Now comes the most difficult part of cleaning my room; The cover ups and removals. There are stains on the walls, stains on the floor, stains on the shelves, stains everywhere. The shelves are clearly the easiest to cover up. I strategically place items over the stains so you can't see them anymore. Sure, the stains are still there but now they’re no longer an issue. I'll always be conscious of their presence, I just won't pay any attention to it. Walls are next; paint usually does the trick. Problem; fresh paint isn’t as faded or marked as the rest of the wall is. Once the new paint dries, it’s clearly evident that something used to be there and I've tried to cover it up. Like the shelves, the stains are mentally noted but ignored. The floor is the last because it’s the hardest to cover up. In fact, in all my attempts to cover floor stains, I've found the most effective way is just to cut it out and replace it with new flooring (being carpet, timber, tiles, lino, etc.).

I now have to decide whether I'll cut it out and replace it or just leave it and ignore it like the other stains. Will other people really care ? Does it make that much of a difference if I leave it ? New flooring, much like paint, can be spotted amongst pre-existing surface. Half the time I leave those stains simply because when it gets messy again, you can't see them.

I stand back and realise that the whole room is clean, that everything is dust free and relatively stain free. For the time being, that's as clean as I'll ever get it; it will just have to do.

Much like the dust, sentimental items and stains, my life is the same. Instead of dust I have things I let settle and ignore; sentimental items are memories that I'll always remember; and stains are mistakes and scars that have been causes over time. Some of them I can wipe off easily, others need to covered up but always remembered, and a select few will have to be cut out and lost forever. What I choose to do with cleaning my "room" is, well, completely undecided until the moment I begin. What I'm left with is what I've chosen to keep for certain reasons, reasons that others may not understand or approve of. I'll continuously mess up my room, clean it, mess it up again, and then clean it again. It’s a vicious cycle but it keeps my room standing; it keeps me going.

And in the end, if I didn’t mess things up, I'd never clean it out. I'd always hold on to things I need not and I'd always have stains that could easily be gone.
This is how I see my life; A room that always needs cleaning.




And while I'm on the subject of pieces of writing, I'd just like to say a small something to everyone out there. Develop some literacy skills before going ahead and and announcing how you'd like to turn writing into a career. Start with learning how to spell and using proper punctuation and grammar. If you cannot master the basics, you have no hope. FYI - it's rIIIIIIIdiculous. Not rediculous. There is no E in the word, whatsoever ! Jeez.
/facepalm.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~ Oscar Wilde.

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