Scrubbing my dormroom floors
About two to three weeks before the end of each term, I would begin thinking about packing and the dreaded floor scrubbing routine we performed every 3 months. Our dorm mom would tell us weeks in advance about the end of the term cleaning and packing routine. I didn’t mind cleaning the bathrooms or wiping down the walls, or, even packing, but I dreaded the scrubbing. To preserve our pale grey linoleum floors, they were waxed at the end of each term. However, it was none other than our job to scrub the wax off the floors. On more than one occasion, I had the job of scrubbing the hallway floors as well.
Once we packed our bags, we had to move our bunk beds to make sure we got the wax off every corner and crevice. My roommate and I would each take a six-inch long bristle brush, a bucket of soap and water, and get on our hands and knees and start scrubbing away. It would have been easier if we had used hot water, but that was reserved for showers. So, for several hours, we would scrub away at the wax that had hardened quite beautifully over the 12 weeks.
After a while, the scrubbing began to become rhythmic and provide room for reflection. I would relish the idea of getting all the wax off, and now wonder, if I didn’t manage to also get some of the linoleum off the tiles as well! It almost became a compulsion for me to get the tiles clean – it fed my perfectionism. Thinking back on this time of my life, I am grateful to my school because we could have had everything spoon-fed and done for us, but I think the administrators knew that we would need to learn how to take care of ourselves. The irony is that when I came to the U.S. for college, I didn’t know how to use a washing machine, because, strangely enough, we had our laundry done for us!