Mister Clean

I’m a tidy person by nature. My dictionary defines tidy as:

ti•dy |ˈtīdē| adjective ( -dier , -diest )

  1. arranged neatly and in order : his scrupulously tidy apartment figurative the lives they lead don’t fit into tidy patterns.
    • (of a person) inclined to keep things or one’s appearance neat and in order : she was a tidy little girl.
    • not messy; neat and controlled : he wrote down her replies in a small, tidy hand.
  2. [ attrib. ] informal (of an amount, esp. of money) considerable : the book will bring in a tidy sum.

In today’s lax and permissive speech, people tend to conflate tidy and clean, however, the two really are different: a clean room is free of dirt and other dreck, while in a tidy room papers are stacked neatly and the books are put away and not scattered across the couch.

I’m a tidy person. I like to have things put away with only the minimum amount of disorder. I’d like to be a clean person, but I simply don’t have the time or energy to make my environment sparkle. Only sometimes I get a burst of energy and I become Mr. Clean for an afternoon.

Between 11 AM and 1 PM today, a whirlwind descended upon 3 Market Sq Apt #3 and turned me – if only briefly – into Mr. Clean. First I swept the floor (which I include in keeping tidy), then I vacuumed the floor (which isn’t in tidy) to get up the dust the broom missed. To complete my transformation from tidy to clean, I filled a bucket with warm water and a quarter cup of Murphy’s Oil Soap and set to work mopping the floor – definitely not in the realm of tidy.

When I was done, far from basking in the warm glow of a clean floor, I scowled because the floor was marred by a dull film. Murphy claims his soap doesn’t require rinsing, but he’s a foul liar. I emptied the bucket and filled it again with clean water and set to work mopping the floor again. This worked a bit better, but the water left a film of its own. So down on hands and knees I went with a cloth to remove the film.

There’s got to be a better way, or I’ll never do this again.

Maybe this is why my transformations into Mr. Clean are so infrequent.