Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Open Letter to the Swiffer People

Dear Swiffer® People,

Why you gotta go and make me feel like a slob?

Let me explain.

I'm moving from an apartment with tile and hardwood floors. I undertook a necessary move-out cleaning ritual: dust, spray, wipe-down, vacuum, sweep, mop. You will notice that I am quite thorough. Indeed, between the stages "sweep" and "mop," I usually add the Swiffer® Stage, in which I attempt to pick up any dust bits small enough to have evaded the watchful gaze of the broom, the long arm of the vacuum extension. This is the point at which you and I come to terms.

I am not a slipshod cleaner, Swiffer® People. I have OCD just mild enough to make it difficult for me to work in dirty or cluttered environs. I fixate on spots, scratches, and other discolorations on the floor that other people would not notice. Sometimes I use my hands to sweep up the last bits; sometimes I vacuum the bottoms of my feet to avoid tracking around any clinging crumbs. My property manager commented that I had a meticulous eye for flaws during the move-in inspection, so to detail any damages for which I would not want to be held responsible.

So then. Why, after having dusted, vacuumed, and swept, does the bottom of every Swiffer® Sweeper™ Dry Sweeping or Wet Mopping cloth always turn a disgusting grey color?

I know the claim: your products pick up what brooms leave behind. But brooms *and* vacuums, *AND* dusters? Swiffer® dusters, mind you, so you may not lay the blame on a bright blue plastic dusting bandit. Nonetheless, these are the facts: I am not a slob, but something tells me that repeated, full-on OCD cleaners would still find persistent dirt.

In short, whence comes this guilt of pre-Swiffer® Squalor?


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Angelinos' Ten Commandments

...And Charlton Heston descended from the Hollywood Hills with the following commandments sent directly to his iPhone Twitter app:

•I am the Jerry your Bruckheimer, who brought you out of the land of reading, into the house of reality television and explosions; you shall have no other producers before me.

•You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; unless it’s an Oscar, a Golden Globe, or, to a lesser extent, an Emmy.

•You shall not take the name of the Arnold your Governator in vain.

•Remember the premier night, to keep it wholly a media circus; you shall not be seen at any event, be it a premier or grocery shopping, without full makeup and designer fashion.

•Honor your freeway system with your middle-finger.

•You shall not kill, unless you know Kato; or in an act of gang violence, in which case everyone will dehumanize you anyway, so it won’t matter.

•You shall not be stupid enough to get caught if you commit adultery.

•You shall not steal from anyone living in Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, or Malibu; nor from any stores on Rodeo Drive; nor if your name is Winona Ryder. Everything else is fair game.

•You shall not bear right or left while driving without first refusing to signal the turn to your neighbor.

•You shall not covet your neighbor's industry connection, nor his trophy wife, nor his Ferrari.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Forget Paris!

I wonder if my biggest transformation is not having transformed….

So ModCloth is doing this terrific transformations contest, and I wanted to come up with something witty yet heartwarming, perhaps that would make my reader tip her head slightly, gazing fondly into the distance, a smile just at the corner of her mouth. You know, that “best blog ever, could’ve won me any college scholarship, what I did on my summer vacation” kind of entry. Uh, yeah. Easy.

No. Transformations are not so apparent. It’s not all black and white.

Or is it?

In high school, I went to Paris with some classmates and our French teacher. I’m sure I imagined walking away from the trip unbearably chic: a fantastic haircut, new unique clothing, some je ne sais quoi. Instead, of course, we were shuttled around like a certain twelve little girls in two straight lines. No freedom for high schoolers.

People dream their whole lives about going to Paris. Why did it seem like I was getting a dull version? Oh yeah, because everyone in Paris, it seemed, dressed in black and white. No subtle shades of color, no subtle shades of grey, even. Heaven forbid mad couture dresses flouncing down the Champs Élysées. The hub of fashion, right? Maybe they’re saving their fancy outfits for clubbing. Maybe they’re going for a minimalist look.

Maybe ::gasp!:: they don’t really care what other people think of their clothing.

Not just clothing. Slowly, of course, the trend caught. I don’t mean the black and white, I mean the devil may care attitude. Because seriously, why should they wear rainbows just because a schoolgirl tourist expects it? And why should I want to transform myself into a grande dame when I’m not?

So yeah. My transformation was not to transform: no pretending, no phonies, no Parisian savoir faire for someone who’s not from Paris. But strangely, after this trip, I did live differently. I laughed more, I danced more, I found it easier to socialize, and I finally (uh, eventually) figured out how to be myself.

Maybe you’d wear bright green in a crowd of black and white to be noticed, but maybe you won’t be. Maybe if you dress similarly to everyone else, you’ll feel like you belong. Maybe if you’re cynical, you won’t care what other people think of you because usually they don’t think of you. Or maybe you’ll find something subtly unique about each person, in the cut of the fabric or the breadth of the stride.