Do you ever get those moments when your own domestic grubbiness grosses you the fuck out?
I had one of those last night when I used the grill in the oven for the first time in months and there was that much smoke, I’m surprised the fire brigade didn’t turn up. It was a blinding plume of billowing grey, fatty smoke and it filled the whole apartment, confirmation to the rest of the block that no, I never clean the oven unless I absolutely have to, and yes, there are “grubs” on level 4.
Obviously I clean it when we move, or someone is coming over to stay, though…
And in my defence, we are in the habit of moving a lot.
I’d like to say that blind eye to dirt is some well thought out stand for feminism, a shot at all those men who continue to allow their working wives to take on the bulk of the share of domestic chores, but I admit that it’s more about laziness. I’ve become much more blasé about hygiene since the kids passed the age of dying from some awful gastro-related illness that the police could trace back to me. Added to which, since the old man began working from home and we divided the chores, there’s a kind of mental impasse between us where neither wants to appear subservient to the other by cracking when it comes to unacceptable dirt levels.
But the truth is, neither of us really cares anymore and because the apartment is so small we can almost get away with it. If someone threatens to come round, we can knock the space into shape superficially in a matter of minutes…and we know all the tricks.
So why aren’t we more methodical? Why are the venetian blinds coated in a layer of dust? Why don’t we clean around the microwave out of habit? Why do the bathrooms only get cleaned when a visible bacterial population begins to hug the plughole?
I like to call it prioritising. Because just as those days have passed when the fuck-off house and the latest car model mattered to us, so has the care factor when it comes to a bit of innocuous dust within our four walls. And there are so many more interesting things to do in middle age, like trying new wines and discovering new drama on Netflix.
We’re not complete grubs, we’re tidy, probably because we both score highly on the OCD scale, but our standards have definitely slipped. We prefer to spend our time doing things we love. I have my writing, the old man has his golf videos.
There is still so much learning to cram into whatever time we have left, so who the fuck cares if the kitchen floor sparkles or the mould is kept at bay in the shower cubicle?