Two days ago I cleaned the kitchen floor. I moved a wooden round table, two metal folding chairs, a hand made wooden bench our cat eats off of, trash and recycling containers, and a cooler out of the way, then vacuumed. The kitchen floor, which is made of vinyl, is simulated wood grain, and had spilled coconut oil, ground in pieces of food, and grease marks. After I vacuumed up spider webs, cat hair and some spilled food particles, I filled the recycling bucket with hot water and Simple Green, with only a little bit of dish soap.
I used an ordinary sponge mop and did a section at a time. After each section, I got on my hands and knees and used a scrubbie to remove any ground in food, grease stains, or whatever, then wiped it dry with terry or micro fiber cloths. I took my time. I did not use a lot of force or a Swiffer or Mop N Glo. I also wiped down the very edge of the floor, cleaned the white heater vent of grease, and wiped down the table and metal chairs where they rest on the floor.I was surprised to find how much a medium wipedown had effect on things.
You have to understand, I live with a man who is the God of Detailing. He is either completely oblivious to everything in the environment, or unpredictably obsessive compulsively unhappy about the status of things to a superhuman degree. He does not clean or pick up; he exists in a portal of extreme poles where things (mainly his vehicles, clothing, tools and teeth) are DETAILED, or they are “a) GROSS/FILTHY” or b) INTOLERABLY FUCKED UP.
While I generally regard him as a factory of delusion, there is the fact that when he details something, it exceeds the state of clean, looks and feels good. Detail God smells things I do not; and if things don’t smell right they are considered traitorous skanky shit which looks clean but is worse than dirty.
The kitchen floor had been in a state of medium dirtiness, which I elevated to to freak out level for his Analness at 3 am in the morning by spilling coconut oil on it. Itching things had been keeping me awake and coconut oil soothes inflammation. Detail God has not been spared when he got up and was making himself coffee. He had stepped in drops of white goo, gotten it on his workboots, Oh the HORROR! He offered to clean the floor himself, an offer that can only indicate hell had, in fact, frozen over. The fact that he then left and was away when I did the floor was a sign of complete divine intervention.
I knew, even before he got back, that I’d really done it. I was inspired to further feats of detailing magic. I took a small rug, brown with grease and cat hair, hosed it, scrubbed it with Simple Green. When it dried, it was a nearly brand new yellow and brown rug. I hand wiped 5 front blind slats. Only 5, you understand, and I retaped a scotch tape repair from Detail God’s flying remote control helicopter inside the house days, now thankfully past.
The secret of detailing comes down to being in a cosmic love space that is not linear oriented. You are not merely cleaning something, you are loving it by being in communion with it. You have contact through your hands, use clean rags, don’t hurry, and if you are using chemicals, they’d better be really good ones you feel comfortable with. You are willing to make whatever you are working on look good and feel good to the touch. You care about all this without being obsessively attached to anything, including the finished result.
It’s taken me years to attain this; I have failed to understand or come anywhere near meeting any standard with Detail God. My father had that sort of thing going on with his tools, his cars, and sometimes with cooking. And he was as incomprehensibly attached to the idea that detailing is superior and somehow above cleaning. I now understand so well how horribly infuriating it was for my mom to have to live with my dad and his patriarchal blind arrogance concerning her cleaning, She was, after all, forcibly coerced by her mother and our culture with the still insane expectation that women be domestic cleaning slaves from cradle to the grave for all of her married life.
And, for the first time in eternity, I have gotten repeated kudos from Detail God about the kitchen floor after years of crushing disapproval, patronizing lectures, and some really vile condemnation about the state of everything. What is really challenging about detailing is that one can easily fall from it’s true zen like state into obsessive compulsive cleaning, which seems the same physically but is not.Besides the actual rhythm of working on something to detail it, there is a serendipitous flow of moving from one project to another. There is just enough in-the moment attention, balanced by an almost mystical awareness of when to start and stop, and move on. The feeling is completely different from obsessive, specific goal driven amounts of completion.There is no overwhelm, no taking on too much, trying to work harder, faster, better. There is no hurrying, pushing oneself, straining, resisting, and feeling yucky because you don’t wanna do it.
After my miraculous experience, I was able to envision slowly but steadily doing the whole house, piece by piece, area by area, section by section. And then even beginning to repair,replace and upgrade a number of things long needing it, at last unhampered by the obstructive madness of Detail God. To actually claim my house, which Detail God has referred to as “This Shithole”, by detailing it.