Spring Cleaning!

There is something enormously satisfying yet terribly sad about this year’s spring cleaning.

I’ve just put out my third load of washing; tidied my underwear drawer; dusted the book shelves; wiped down the wooden floor boards with eucalyptus oil and water; and scrubbed the bathroom with Borax and vinegar.

Why? Because it is spring! And it is warm! And there is such a sense of satisfaction in polishing the old and making it new. A pleasure in auditing life, which asserts itself now that the days grow longer. A joy in accounting for what is and what is not; righting past wrongs, planning the future.  And spring cleaning is a great excuse to do an enormous amount of laundry, so that over and over you find yourself stepping outside and lifting your face to the sun.

Clothes on the line

I have just walked down to the hills hoists in our yard. Yes we have two, but that doesn’t alleviate the anxiety that there may be no room on the line. There are twelve apartments in our block after all, and it is such a stunning spring day.  A perfect drying day; the kind of day where the heat seeps into your bones. But when I got there the lines were empty. Do people really prefer to put their clothes in a dryer on a day like this? But it is a week day, probably everyone is at work. Do people really prefer to be at work on a day like this?

So I happily filled the lines, watched only by the black cat with green eyes that squeezes itself on the window ledge, between curtain and glass, in the ground floor apartment. Its lovely little head rotates with the lines as they move; its eyes follow closely the antics of this great mechanical bird in the yard.

Black Cat with Green Eyes

There is such a sense of satisfaction and achievement in performing the rituals of spring cleaning but this year there is also a great sense of sadness. This spring there is another ritual to perform. We are having an election.

The sadness blights the excitement I usually feel at election time. I suppose the excitement is really a manic gratitude that we are blessed with something we can so take for granted. A system where choosing our representatives is just a three yearly ritual, not a life threatening act.  One that some people even think is a bore. But even they would admit that it’s not as boring as taking an unpaid day off work to line up for hours on a cold Tuesday in November; or defying threats in order to walk hundreds of kilometers, risking violence and bullets, to participate in this right; this responsibility.

For Australians, Election Day is always a Saturday. Usually with sunshine.  Never with bullets. Our greatest danger are the sausage sizzle and the cake stall, which as good citizens we will of course support. After all it is a fundraiser for the school that the polling booth so often finds itself in.  I love the rituals that have been created around our Saturday polling day. It has become one of our festival days. As you walk in through the school gates you are accosted by the party supporters enticing you with their How-to-Vote cards. Then as you wait in line you smell the barbecue and watch harried parents delivering tray after tray of baked goods, trying not to trample on small children with their dogs and balloons. And finally you get to recite your name and address and confirm that you have not already participated in this ritual today; and then you make your mark secretly and in pencil, on a ballot paper paper or two.

biscuits

But this Election Day I am sad.

I am sad because I think we are about to combine this festival with another much loved activity – spring cleaning.

I am sad that the urge for tidiness and simplicity, the satisfaction of throwing out something that has disappointed, that hasn’t been perfect, or is no longer fashionable, will win out at this election.   I’m hoping that’s not the case but I suspect that that hope will disappear as I indulge in another favourite Election Day ritual, watching the results come in live from the tally room on Saturday night, over a (very) good bottle of red.

Hopea

About sagesomethymes

Daniela is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She has had poetry and short stories published in 'Prayers of a Secular World', Inkerman & Blunt; 'Blue Crow Magazine', Blue Crow Press; 'Knitting and other stories', Margaret River Press and Radio National’s '360 documentaries'. Her debut play, 'Talc', was produced in 2010. Her short play, 'Sicilian Biscotti', was produced for the launch of “Women Power and Culture” at New Theatre in 2011 and shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Award in 2015. Her second full length play, 'Friday', was produced by SITCO at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2013. 'The Poor Kitchen' was produced in 2016 as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s Fresh Works Season and was published by the Australian Script Centre in 2017 (https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1836). It was re-staged by Patina Productions at Limelight on Oxford in 2019. She co-wrote 'Shut Up And Drive' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at KXT in 2016. In 2019, her new play, 'Seed Bomb' was produced at Old 505 Theatre as part of the FreshWorks Season. She is the co-founder of indie theatre company subtlenuance (www.subtlenuance.com) Her published short stories can be read via the Short Stories tab on this blog.
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3 Responses to Spring Cleaning!

  1. Jo says:

    I’m hear you! I’ve loved Election Day since I was a child and will be going through my rituals that aren’t dissimilar to yours! Will be watching the tv with some fear and trepidation tomorrow but whatever the outcome we are still luckier than most!

  2. Gina says:

    Thanks for this journey and for the strong visualisation. I felt I was there with you Spring cleaning and doing the washing, hanging up the laundry and noticing the green eyes watching. Voting Saturday and the trampling parents made me chuckle because it’s so true! This is what happens on each election day. 🙂

  3. Carol richardson says:

    Loved it and usually we would follow suit. We watched what we could of election results on bbc from Moscow! How ironic! At the same time elections were on in Moscow for mayor and one of the candidates had only recently been released from gaol, but not allowed to campaign! They call it democracy in Russia, but all Russians know it is still really a dictatorship!
    As we looked out our window at soviet built buildings and had walked past hammer and sickle icons engraved high above buildings all day, we thought how lucky we were to be able to vote and to have some choice. Well, kind of, at least they say they have different policies!
    We could not see much but the internet updated us on seat results, how we missed Antony Green’s analysis!
    We spoke to our guide next day and she mentioned that there are no restaurants in Russia older than about 20 years, because they were not allowed to have any! Imagine a world without restaurants and choice…..just a small symbol of what many people live with daily, and what we take for granted.
    I also worked at the elections here in Malta, as the High Commission opened for 2 weeks prior to the elections to allow Aussies in Malta to vote. I was very proud;as opposed to the often rude Aussies we get voting in Australia, who complain about a 10 min wait in friendly conditions, these Aussies were more than happy to turn up and do their duty, even if for some it meant a ferry ride and a long car ride from Gozo to get to the High Commission. Maybe Aussies need to spend a bit of time in ex soviet block countries just to get a taste of what life can be like without real democracy. Well, we have a change, let’s see if it will be good or bad!

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