Erin's Everyday Thoughts

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Keeping it Clean

Two Saturdays ago, it finally cooled down. Two Saturdays ago, I took the dog outside at 7 AM and felt a cool chill in the air. I took a deep breath without feeling suffocated. It was an exhilarating glimpse toward the fall. I felt weightless, free from the humidity at last.

Two Saturday ago, I went back to sleep after taking the dog outside at 7 AM. I slept for another hour and a half, because the week had exhausted me. I took my time eating breakfast, chatting with my brother and our current houseguest, my brother’s girlfriend. They left at 10 AM, and I decided that it was the perfect morning to wash my car.

My car was VERY dirty. I hadn’t washed it in a while, and I’d been on a few road trips—a camping trip where firewood was stacked in the trunk, a trip to Indiana and Northern Ohio. My car had dirt souvenirs from each destination.

I started with cleaning the interior of my car. I used Armor All wipes on the steering wheel, the dashboard, until everything was slick and clean. Then I moved on to the door wells (my least favorite part of the car to clean), with a bucket of soapy water. These hadn’t been cleaned in ages, so it was slow going.

When I was finishing with my first door well, for the driver’s side door, I heard an awful din next door. My neighbor, out of nowhere it seemed, yelled (so I could clearly hear it outside, even though he was inside), “What the F*** are you doing? Get the F*** outside!” There was a racket of something being hit or thrown, then the yelp of a dog. Then more yelling.

I stopped. I waited for them to come out the back door. But they did not come.

I heard them a few minutes later in the front yard. And boy, was my blood boiling. I thought of the things I might have said to my neighbor had he come out the back door, the glares I would have given him. I thought of the way my neighbor’s dog used to skulk around as a puppy, always with his tail between his legs, flinching if you tried to touch him.

But I didn’t say anything or do anything. (Because what could I realistically say or do?) I just kept cleaning my door wells, then the exterior of my car, then made a trip to a car wash where they have giant vacuums so I could clean the seats and floors.

When I was finished cleaning my car, I sat inside it feeling pleased with my work. I love to sit with things that I’ve worked hard to clean or organize. I feel accomplished. Usually I also feel at peace.

But peace did not come that day. The angry curses kept ringing in my ears. I thought of Armor All wipes cleaning more than dashboards.


  • I recently read, for the first time, both books by the Scottish vet, All Things Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful (I'm not sure I have the titles right, but you know the books I'm referring to). Animals have such a hard time of it. They can't speak, and to be treated badly...anyone with a heart has to feel for them.

    By Blogger emmapeelDallas, at 2:33 AM  

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