A Windex Ritual

“Grab a paper towel and the bottle of Windex and get to work.” I’m badgered by my mother to wipe the TV, the windows, the dining table, any surface that accumulated dust. All silver-lined items and metallic surfaces were at the mercy of the swab and scrub ritual. Apparently, spring cleaning was year-round for my household.

Even when I left the house, before we could reach the cab waiting to take us to another wedding, we had to put everything back together where it belonged. Beds had to be made, sofas needed to be tidied, and the furniture all had to align as if guests were coming over after we scurried out the door. I’d clamor to my mom, “No one is going to see this mess. We have no guests coming over later. We can come back and take care of it.”

“When you come home to a clean home, you come home in shanthi (peace).”

It was hard to process the word “peace” at six years old. Yet today, I seek that mental peace actively. I had a day of mourning as I quit my job yesterday. This morning, I sought shanthi.

I woke up and checked the bed, checked the sofa, checked the TV, checked the table, and cleared any messes from the previous night. Now, out cames the paper towel and Windex. Mindless yet meticulous scrubbing. No questions. Just clean, brewing thoughts that are trapped in my head, waiting to come alive today.

Before I start my day, I do a cursory check. My table is spotless, unburdened by books or paper, only a clean canvas with my computer propped upon it.My computer is hyper organized with neat folders, neat titles, correct timestamps, cleaned up to-do lists, and a new page on my calendar.

A clean day is a day worth giving my attention.

Ashraf Ali