I've declared today a cleaning day. It's a pretty, sunny saturday - the perfect day for cleaning because i'm in a good mood and full of energy and ambition. I'm also eating a banana smeared in peanut butter as i write this. It tastes good.
I have really fond memories of saturday cleaning day back when i was in college.* I would start with stripping the bed and washing the sheets and pillow cases. Folding clean laundry has always been one of my favorite, meditative hobbies. My first boyfriend, a real douchebag by all accounts, totally got off on watching me fold laundry, so I would do his as well as my own. In retrospect it was either a ploy to get me to do his laundry for him, or there was something eerily Oedipal about it. Not sure, don't care.
After the laundry I'd do all the other tidying up type things, including cleaning the fish tank (I alsways had a betta tank during my undergrad years), watering, trimming, and repotting any plants that needed it, and vacuuming, etc. Something about doing pleasant, domestic chores in those frantic, essay-writing and lab report days had a very calming effect on my state of mind. Most of all what I remember was the smell.
I have deep olfactory memories of my undergrad college. I went to a little college in Connecticut, founded in the early part of the 20th century that had less than 2000 students in total. All the buildings on the campus were cut granite, and the only reason the walls weren't covered in ivy is because ivy is bad for the mortar so the grounds people were keen on keeping it under control. But the smell -- ah, the smell!
Every spring there would be one day when suddenly the winds would shift and, instead of blowing down from the north bearing arctic misery, they would suddenly do a 180 and come up from the south, laden with moisture and the smell of salt from Lond Island Sound. At precisely that moment the viburnum would open and the whole campus would be saturated with the fragrances of the sea, the flowers, and all the spring cleaning soaps that got dragged out of storage.
Even though I can close my eyes at any moment and remember that wonderful, distictive homey smell that heralded the resurrection of the student body after a winter spent hibernating in art studios and computer labs, I would give almost anything to be able to return to Connecticut at that moment and breathe deeply the air of one of the happiest times of my life.
And maybe fold a few sheets, you know, for old time's sake.
*If you didn't already think I was a freak, you sure do now.