Day 192: Loud Music Didn’t Make Me Better At Cleaning

I used to volunteer to clean the bathroom. I was like 9 years old at the time, which is allegedly the perfect age to clean bathrooms. It was my Saturday ritual. To this day, I’m not sure why I did it. I guess it was because it was easy and if I did it on my own accord, I wouldn’t be tasked with harder work, like cleaning my room. I would set my Talkboy on top of the toilet and play the same Smashing Pumpkins cassette single. Over and over and over. There were two songs on it and they were both quite short. It would play 3 or 4 loops before I finished. But for some reason, listening to “Zero” on full blast out of a shitty speaker really put me in the cleaning mood. The noise drowned out all distractions and I was able to get down to business and not stop scrubbing until the job was done.

When I lived in a place by myself, a good 12 years later, I was tasked with keeping the place clean. Because there was literally nobody else to do so. Every Friday, I would wake up hungover and put on a pot of coffee. I’d read the newspaper for a bit, but once the coffee kicked in, I knew what I had to do. I would march to my record player and put on Black Flag’s “Damaged” album. I’d crank that fucker up, open the windows and have myself a cleaning party [I would tell myself that I needed to have a cleaning party before I could have a TV party and to my pretentious 21 year old mind, that sounded really cool]. Just like when I was a kid, I always had to listen to the same thing in order to clean.

And truth be told, it didn’t help. At all.

My Mom would always have to clean the bathroom again, despite my best efforts. I could chalk that up to being a kid that was shitty at cleaning, but I was also probably spending too much time flipping the tape over, a process that would involve taking my gloves on and off for, splattering cleaning solution everywhere. I don’t think my Mom ever had the heart to tell me that I was doing a bad job. She might’ve just been happy that I had the initiative to do it and hoped that I would eventually get better at it. I didn’t. I blame Billy Corgan.

As for my old apartment, well, that’s a different story. It’s really hard to clean an apartment when you’re headbanging with your vacuum. I would just go nuts with the thing, shoving it in all sorts of directions. The same would go with the dusting. My lines were inconsistent because I was too busy rocking the fuck out. Putting away clutter was also an issue, as I’d just toss things from one end of the room to the other and then headbang some more. The place just never got clean. And when it came time to move out, I lost me security deposit because the filth became irreparable. It also didn’t help that I moved in with white carpets, never took my shoes off and chainsmoked inside. That carpet became brown and grey in a hurry.

To this day, I clean in silence. There’s nothing to encourage me to keep going than the sounds of me breathing heavily while trying to reach the far corner of the bathtub. There’s nothing more motivating than the sound of a stray piece of litter scraping the floor from the bottom of your Swiffer. Also, the time I spend cleaning is no longer dictated by the length of a song or album side. For all intents and purposes, cleaning in silence is the way to be. But that’s not to say I haven’t been tempted to put “Zero” on every now and then. But I really don’t feel like excitedly splashing toilet water all over myself.

– TeeCoZee