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April 1999 Issue
What Comes Around, Goes Around
by Krafty
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Well, here it is again. Spring. And Spring cleaning!

Not that I am a devotee of housework, you understand; it's just that when the sun starts shining and it's still too cold to spend a lot of time outside in the garden (which would be an excellent excuse for ignoring the housework), there's this distracting ballet of dust particles in the few rays of sunlight that squeeze themselves into the house.

There are solutions of course. I've heard that spraying water into the air will lay the dust, but what with the traffic at the front of the house, the "environmental recycling" plant at the back, and my determined blindness to the actual existence of chores, my carpet would soon turn into a quagmire.

I have a friend (nay, soulmate - she doesn't like doing housework either) who is allergic to dust, so she got herself a de-ioniser. It works fine. She hardly ever has to use her nebuliser when she's at home. But I've seen the mess it makes of her wall, and I don't want to add to my problems by having it stare me in the face.

I could live more simply. You know the sort of thing. Bare boards, metal furniture, no window coverings. They wouldn't cause or trap the dust so much. But I'm a Leo and I like my comforts.

I bought one of those super-powerful, hyper-efficient vacuum cleaners last year. The salesman used it to vacuum my bed, and I was suitably distressed by what I saw on his demonstration filters. Now, I'm not a stupid person. I know I was supposed to be distressed. But it did suck up what my other one wouldn't, and it shampooed carpets too. Not only that, it had "drive" facility, and I admire that in a machine.

I've tried persuading myself that I could simply enjoy the beauty of the dance, bask in the wonder of it all. As it must have been with the cavemen, my face is drawn to the warmth and glare of the sun at every opportunity, and especially after six months or so of the persistent grey of Winter.

But as I open my eyes, upbringing and social pressures nag me into thinking I should do something about it.

So as I remove the curtains for washing, clouds of previous happy and settled specks of dust are rudely catapulted into mid-air, caught briefly and accusingly in the sun's rays, and disappear again into the shade. But now I know they're there! And the vendetta begins. I open the window (though I don't know why, considering my environment), take down the pictures only to be horrified all over again at the clean spaces on the wall, whip round the books with the vacuum cleaner (who am I kidding), and dare not fluff up the cushions - they go straight into the washing machine, covers and all - with the gusto of a teacher with a class of naughty children.

I work through lunch, because now I've moved the furniture out to clean behind it, I find some papers I was supposed to reply to, and some more that I don't even remember seeing before, and some more that are overdue for payment, and some more that need putting in the home file . . .

And here we are upstairs at the home file whose lid won't shut. So out go receipts from five years ago, three years of electricity, gas and telephone bills dated pre-1998, and I very nearly dispose of salary slips from the beginning of time but decide they're historical documents which may be of some amusement to coming generations. A guarantee card for a toaster I threw out years ago reminds me I just bought a new one because the last one didn't get mended and it's still in a box somewhere downstairs.

The box, labelled "To Be Mended", is underneath another box. I don't recognise the top box, so I open it and release an veritable explosion of dust particles into the now sun-filled air. It is full of clothing I meant to take to the charity shop. I shut it again quickly, too quickly to avoid a second explosion. I'm now in full swing of ridding myself of clutter so I dash out to the car with the offending box, thereby kicking up a dust trail behind me, and letting in more from the traffic.

The evening comes, the sun goes down, and I plan to forget for a while that dusters were ever invented. I stop just short of hoping the sun won't come out tomorrow, that long awaited, life-giving, mood-enhancing sun, and I try to fight off the guilt and intimidation of what others might think.

I make myself a coffee, and fall heavily into a cushionless armchair, and although I can't see any dust, I know I've done it again. By now I am thoroughly paranoid.

An evening meal and another cup of coffee later, I have made sense of it all. What comes around, goes around. Some of the dust I moved this year was probably the same dust I moved last year, and next year I will move it again.



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