Things got a little heavy this morning while I was on my hands and knees in the bathroom. I was finally taking the time to scrub the bottom of our tiny shower, an easy task that I’d put off for weeks, because it always became a bit of a production.
First, I’d have to scrub the excess grime with a dryer sheet, a trick I learned from Pinterest. It’d been so long, I needed two to really do the job. So there I was minding my own business, going at this mucky floor and feeling pretty damned satisfied with myself for being up AND cleaning on a Saturday morning before nine when out of no where I started having these really dark thoughts.
I know from experience how a mindless task can allow the subconscious brain push to the forefront, but for me that usually results in creative energy. Not this morning. This morning as I was switching from one dryer sheet to another I felt a trapdoor open and I was wondering when I became a person so pleased with her own domestication. How could I find pleasure in clipping coupons and finding the best ways to make a expensive meal cheaper when I’d once been a person who wanted the best and costliest of everything? Was I settling? I’d made a promise to myself years before when I’d hit a personal rock bottom to never settle, that between two options I would always take the one that was best for me, and no one else. That promise had led me to Spokane for Graduate school, to Arizona and later, away from Arizona. That promise made me return to Elon University and most recently to Portland.
And yet here I was cleaning this damn shower, having moved on to the wetter part of the process and the full shower spray to contend with, which was a task I could be doing anywhere in the world. I haven’t progressed as I person, I thought, my left arm fully drenched. I haven’t grown, especially if growth is measured in cleaning the bathroom, which I still hate doing. I’ve just started a new job, with the potential of failing higher than the possibility of succeeding and this week I had to take a mental health day. Meanwhile my boyfriend who works his ass off was disappointed he couldn’t work on Saturday like he normally does. I felt like a joke.
By this point I’ve moved on to spraying down the shower with a bleach solution. I feel like I deserve the lightheaded daze the fumes are lulling me into. I take up the sponge and scrub in slow laconic circles. I don’t have any close friends here, I think to myself. I don’t feel wholly understood. I scrub and scrub. TJ has taken the dog out for a walk and I realize that if he comes in and sees me at this moment he’ll think I’m possessed or maybe he won’t. Maybe he’s used to the Monet who’s anal about cleaning for ten minutes before creating a new mess.
I turned on the shower again. I watched from a distance, as the dirt and water go down the drain. I noticed, as if looking through a telescope, how clean and white the shower is, how it gleams. I feel myself climbing back up the ladder and through the trapdoor. I hear TJ turning the lock, coming in with the dog. I look again at the shower, and see that it’s as clean as it’s ever been.