Okinawa, but actually Baseboards

Okay, today was, put simply, an amazing day for me.  I stood up for myself against myself and social pressures and blah-di-blah-blah, I wandered about, I found amazing things, and I never even made it to my intended destination.  And it was fabulous.

However, I’ll not write about all of that tonight.  I’m on my phone, and I find it cumbersome and somewhat annoying to write a lot on my phone, so I’ll wait until Monday or Tuesday, when I have my computer to use.  Don’t worry, though, I took lots of pictures to remind me of what all I did today (a bit different for me, huh?), so those will help me write it all up rather accurately later on!  

Instead, tonight I will write about baseboards.

As I was showering just now, here in the Air BnB, I started wondering about how they manage cleaning of the place between visitors.  Naturally, I cut off that line of thinking almost instantly (because, of you know anything about me and cleanliness, you know I have super-mental-OCD when it comes to bathroom-related cleanliness).  However, it reminded me of dirty I have found places to be in Japan.

Now, when I say that I find places here dirty, it doesn’t mean that Japan is generally gross all over the place – the average person likely wouldn’t notice a thing, except on the odd occasion.  I mean things like door handles, hand towels, and all sorts of other little everyday things.  Things like baseboards, for example.

I never thought much about baseboards (aside from ‘kicking the baseboard’ at the end of an outside turn in two-step (the partner dance, not the song that says it over and over again)) until I was visiting my high school boyfriend’s house one day.  They were finishing with cleaning day at their house when I arrived, and his mom was assigning the final chores to him and his siblings.

“Do you want to vacuum, or do the baseboards?” she asked him.

I think he picked the vacuuming, but I’m not sure.  I asked what she’d meant by “the baseboards”, and someone explained that it was running a wet paper towel or rag along all of the baseboards in the house, in order to get and keep them clean.  I got to watch one of his siblings (perhaps it was his middle sister) then do just that, going along quickly on her knees, cleaning the baseboards.

After that, I began to wonder how my family’s baseboards stayed clean, seeing as I had never noticed anyone cleaning them in any way, and certainly not in the way my boyfriend’s family did it.  I think I never asked anyone about this, but merely wondered privately what magic was at work.

Unfortunately, though, this opened me up to a whole new world of cleaning and cleanliness.  As if I hadn’t already had enough criteria for what determined a place’s (and its residents’) cleanliness, I now had this new one called “baseboards”.  Everywhere I went, of baseboards were in view, I was suddenly aware of how clean they were.

Nowadays, it has calmed down a bit, as it is no longer a new concept for me.  However, I still notice them (and judge places and people by their cleanliness, of course).  In Japan, they have often been unclean, sometimes even layered up with dirt and dust bunnies.  (Actually, there is an extreme amount of dust bunnies at my schools – I don’t understand how they all develop, not why so many of them have to end up right by my desk, of all places.)  And, every time I find these baseboards, two thoughts occur for me.  Okay, well three. 

1) Gross.

2) I want to leave now.

3) They need to get in board with John’s mom on this one. 

(John is the old high school boyfriend, in case you didn’t gather that.)

And, since so many have proven unclean here, I’ve actually taken to avoiding looking at them.  I hardly have I think about it anymore, I just realized – I simply don’t look at them.  Thus I am able to maintain one small piece of this sanity a good handful of people in the world believe that I truly do have. 😛

So,… go check out cleaning your baseboards, kay?  Or not.  Just don’t invite me over, if you haven’t checked them and can guarantee their cleanliness. 😛
Post-a-day 2017

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