I suppose having no TV or “plastic, consumerist, stereotype-perpetuating” items (otherwise known as toys), forced me at a young age to find creative ways to entertain myself…like compulsive cleaning.
Or getting crafty in the afternoon…
In most every mention of my parent’s divorce, my mom said she got the kids while my father got the money. She did however have enough funds to afford a plot of land with two ramshackle houses and tumbledown orchards, desperate for pruning and a multi-functioning tractor.
Our homestead quickly became a commune for nomadic gypsy travelers, broke hippies and local artists – each bringing buses, tents, and various clutter.
No one but me seemed preoccupied with fantasies that one day the outside disarray, comprised of large piles of random rubble, might at last be cleared and properly landscaped.
Rather, most of the adults celebrated the full moon and other re-occurring “rituals”, while submitting to cathartic LSD-induced mind/body adventures. Day after day they’d dance and play instruments in the backfield around a large wikiup – a dome-shaped structure built of tree branches and canvas, also known as a sweat lodge (but not to be confused with the higher end version of a yurt).
I recall once scrubbing the kitchen floor after such a gathering, when my mother walked in and found me with sponge in hand:
“Deli, you gotta get this… I BECAME a lion today. I just started runnin’ through the cherry trees as fast as I could until I collapsed on the grass… I’m dirty and there’s flies on me, but I was so connected to the earth – I didn’t care! And because I was embodying such a feline energy, Tippy the cat tunes into this and comes over and lays this wounded snake at my feet. And then I realized this is what cats do, they bring the ‘momma cat’ an offering… So I’m watchin’ this one third of a snake undulating and doin’ this beautiful dying-dance and then I remembered…
Pause for deep breath.
“Snakes represent rebirth! And I realized…”
Pause for tears.
“I am havin’ a REBIRTH.”
Pause again as I avert the uncomfortably intense eye-contact, thank her for sharing, and inform her we need more Bon Ami to clean the tub.
To this day, I’m still clean freak, however you may find it surprising that I’m not so concerned about my hands. Perhaps I can’t be anal about my hands and the house simultaneously – even when these mitts are protected in rubber gloves, they take a beating when cleaning. My number one rule of thumb when it comes to caring for hands, particularly after a cathartic ‘ritual’ of cleaning, is to keep my mitts moisturized.
I admit to being almost as obsessive about moisturizing as I am about the shine on my kitchen counter top. I once met a gal at a party, and after shaking her hand, she said, “My god, do you like use lotion 10 times a day?!” I laughed along with her…but truth is, the answer is yes.