The Odd Couple

Sunday is cleaning day over here.

I take a very, shall we say, er, efficient attitude toward cleaning. If it doesn’t look dirty, it doesn’t need to be cleaned. If it looks slightly untidy but not downright messy, it doesn’t need to be cleaned unless your parents are coming. If it is messy but not embarrassingly so, it doesn’t need to be cleaned unless your friends are coming. When it becomes messy enough to be bothersome, that’s when you clean. Sometimes this takes a month; sometimes it takes a few days, but in any case, you can live perfectly well in it until it is time to clean (because if you couldn’t, then it would be bothersomely messy), and you will end up cleaning far less often.

I understand that not everyone is this casual, so while my room is kept less-than-pristine, the common areas are always presentable. Today my roommate finishes breakfast, looks around, and says, “God, we need to clean up in here.” I look around and wonder what on earth she’s talking about.

Apparently it is filthy in here. Mind you, we did a large-scale cleaning last week (as in spending the whole day doing it, cleaning the carpet and all). We have a few dishes in the sink, some keys and books on the coffee table, mail on the counter, a few flecks on the floor. This is to her disgusting beyond measure and she can’t believe we’ve let it go for this long. I look on questioningly as she proceeds to dust the living room (dust? after a week?) and decide to tackle the dishes, that being the one thing I am sure is dirty. Somewhere in there the bathrooms get cleaned, the house dusted and vacuumed, the glass surfaces shined…

Aside from the stuff on the coffee table, it looks exactly the same as it did before. Am I going to say anything? Not a word…


  1. francis s. wrote:

    Wait – has my mother moved to California and enrolled in university, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, my father included? Is your roommate about 5′4′’, grey hair, likes to bake bread, is big into gay rights, and goes to water aerobics five days a week?

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