Saturday, April 7, 2007

taking it out on the tub

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned—and scouring. My bathroom finds this out every time I go through a break-up, and it doesn’t seem to matter how the end of the affair went, whether it was amicable, acerbic, mutual, mean or misled, there is always something to channel into my scrubbing arm, which happens to be my right.

So it was that I found myself this afternoon, listening to DNTO on CBC, on my knees by the bathtub, rubber gloves on to the elbow, Comet all over the place, scrubbing to beat the band. Rather, to clean all the gunk and grime off the tub surface. Funny how it’s hard to find the time to clean the bathroom when you’re happily ensconced in classes and a busy social life, and how it all waits patiently for you until the day when those things no longer weigh you down (or, for those of you who are still doing those things, until the day when you can no longer stand it). Tub gunk isn’t going anywhere, and it tells you that in no uncertain terms as it laughs at you while you scrub. But tub gunk doesn’t know what I’ve got up my sleeve, the most powerful cleaning agent of them all—recent singledom.

Now, I should stop here and say that this is not going to be an out-of-character, airing-of-my-dirty-laundry post. I never have done something like that and I never will—the public domain of the Internet is no place for delicates. Heck, my own clothesline hardly is. I’m only saying that I broke up with someone, which most of you know by now, and if you didn’t know, it probably doesn’t matter all that much to you anyway. The point is not with who, although if you have been reading this for the past few months you’ll have a guess, or how it all went down, but rather that it has been my experience through my long twenty-two years of life that each time I go through a break-up, the bathroom sparkles suspiciously soon after.

It truly is amazing to me how the emotions of a break-up, or of any sort of slight, can fuel the physical actions of the human body. I remember last summer, on a day a bit like this one (i.e. the sort of day women get every 28 or so when all we want to do is eat chocolate and pummel inanimate objects), going for a speedwalk (don’t laugh, if I were to jog, my already-out-of-whack joints would get abused and take it out on me later) and it was raining, a light mist. I was out on a dirt road in the middle of the woods in Cape Breton, a Nalgene bottle full of water in either hand, pumping along for all I was worth, yelling out obscenities into the soft, wet evening. These obscenities were directed at previous boyfriends, and my body was directed straight up the side of a very steep hill, most efficiently.

As I was cleaning, I thought a bit about break-ups. How we work like hell to keep them from happening, but they, like anything else we consider an accident, are an inevitable part of life. This doesn’t make anything about them any more fun, but maybe, like stubbing your toe, the knowledge that the pain will pass makes it a little easier to bear. And like other unexpected demises, oddly enough, some good does come from them. I like to think of it as the “tree dying in the woods” phenomenon: tree dies, tree rots, things grow out of it. There aren’t many things prettier in the woods than coming upon an old, mossy carcass of a fallen giant, covered in new growths. Likewise, we never know what beautiful thing is going to happen to us in life as a result of a choice or a turn in the road that’s happening now.

One thing I do know: my bathroom is gorgeous, for the first time in a while. That one is pretty easy to trace. Also, hold off on the sympathy: I’m fine and I have lots of chick flicks, Maeve Binchy novels and, yes, cleaning products. Instead of concerned comments, however, you could leave your thoughts on your personal breakup remedies. What comfort has stood the test of time, when your relationship didn’t? Also, if you think this topic is a little too personal for the World Wide Web, despite my best efforts to make it as general as possible, feel free to tell me...I am interested in how I come across to you, my readers known and unknown. Just don't break up with me! Leave your comments, no matter what they're about. Let's communicate about this.

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