Thanksgiving is over. There are tiny stuffing crumbs under the rug. I know this, because if you came over to my house, you would never, ever be able to use the expression “You could eat off her floors.”
I have been thinking about this, because I would like to meet the person who coined the expression. I would like to study the floors at THAT house. Was he or she some sort of obsessive/compulsive type? I think this must be the case. Because I feel very certain that there isn’t a floor on earth that you could safely eat off. (off of which you could safely eat may be grammatical, but it is silly) This person had wishful thinking about floors, certainly.
Consider operating rooms. Supposedly sterile. But you haven’t seen all the documentaries about the super bugs in hospitals that are now resistant to every antibiotic known to man? I rest my lunchbox. But not on the floor.
Aunt Myrtle? The one with a Swiffer, a mop, seven vacuums, ten gallons of Clorox, and rubber gloves in pink, green, and yellow? She changes all the sheets once a week? And uses Murphy’s Oil Soap on her floors? Go ahead. Put your sandwich on the parquet. Every bite will taste soapy. Just saying.
I like to think I fight the good fight over here. I Swiff. I vacuum. But it’s the darndest thing: the day after I clear the decks of assorted detritus, heave a proud sigh and sit down with a cup of coffee, I notice a cobweb running from the lampshade to the picture frame that I swear I dusted. Whoops.
Corners harbor little drifts of stuff. It is dark brown. Kind of like dirt. How does this happen? I have a magic eraser. I swipe it around on a regular basis. And every single time it picks up a disgusting compilation of cat hair, mulch, and other things that belong elsewhere. But it must escape me somehow, only to end up in little enclaves embedded in every corner.
Hardwood floors will fool you. They are the color of dirt. Therefore, you can walk on them for thirty years, and they look the same as they did the day you moved in. What? You think Swiffing is sufficient? Me, too! But then Aunt Myrtle came over, moistened a paper towel, and rubbed in on the floor of the foyer. It came up black. Boy, if Aunt Myrtle thinks she is coming over for turkey next year, she has another think coming.
We Americans are just too concerned with sterility, in my opinion. Eating dirt stimulates the immune system. Pet hair helps build up resistance to allergy. Good grief, they eat BUGS in some cultures deliberately!
My mother used to fret about her house. She worked so hard to keep it clean. She had the walls washed annually. She took everything out of the closets, shook them or something, and then put them back in. I am not sure actually what she did with them after she took them out of the closets; it was totally boring, by then I was probably listening to my Beatle records. But I do have a point: our house didn’t look any cleaner than Chrissy Spongle’s house down the block. Chrissy’s Mom just kicked things under rugs, casually ran her hand over tabletops and then rubbed it on her jeans. And the Spongles house looked just fine. The fact that most people who went over to the Spongles didn’t notice the house because Mrs. Spongle had a stupendous set of breasts is probably not relevant.
My housekeeping manifesto comes from what I have learned from years of trying to keep up with Aunt Myrtle and failing. Do what you need to do to maintain the façade. Nobody ever comes over to your house and plunks a pizza on the floor. Nor will anyone try to toss a salad on top of your coffee table. So flip a dust towel around occasionally, blow obvious dust off your chotchkes, and sweep anything not microscopic under a rug. Why, I bet there are furballs under Martha Stewart’s antique bed.
At my house, you eat off the TABLE. With plates and silverware. Let’s just drop the whole “floor” charade, shall we?