Sometimes you’ll just be sitting in your house, completely unaware of your surroundings. You’ll be vaguely aware that there are walls around you and a couch beneath you, but details beyond their mere existence are of no concern. You might be watching your lights flicker, but you're certainly not considering calling a NYC electrician. Then, out of nowhere, a friend will call and say he or she is dropping by. Suddenly the Triscuit crumbs on your coffee table come into focus. The month of un-swept floor dust becomes blaringly noticeable. You have to clean up. But, let’s face it, you’re not really going to clean up. You don’t like your friend that much. What’s going to happen is that you’re going to halfway clean. You’re going to clean without really cleaning.
First you’ll start with the coffee table crumbs. You’re not going to get out the Pledge though. You don’t even have Pledge. If you were the kind of person who had Pledge regularly in stock, you’d probably be the kind of person who didn’t regularly have crumbs everywhere. What you’re going to do is take a damp paper towel and quickly run it over the table surface. But, you won’t worry about cupping your hand beneath the edge and sliding the crumbs into your palm. Why not? Because you’re about to sweep the floor anyway.
Well, you’re not really going to sweep. Your broom is saturated with dust bunnies and you don’t feel like pulling them off the bristles with your hands. So, you’re just going to Swiffer. But you’re not really going to Swiffer either because you broke the stick/handle part last month when you tried to cram it into that weird skinny cabinet in your kitchen. Luckily, you still have two Swiffer pads left, and what you’ll do is put them on the floor, step on them, and slide them across your living room under your feet. They’ll take care of the crumbs you swept off the coffee table onto the floor.
Now you have to deal with all the clutter. You’ve got books, unopened mail, and yet-to-be-thrown-away packaging everywhere. You don’t have time to sort through it all and decide what can be thrown out, so you’re just going to stack it on any flat surface you can find. You’ll put the biggest thing at the bottom of the stack and the smallest thing on top, forming a random-stuff pyramid. But, it’ll look like you purposefully organized it that way. “He must always keep his “Dear Resident” promotional postcards atop his shoebox and a clipboard,” your friend will think to himself.
All you have left to do now is make your place smell like it’s clean. It’s easy. You’ll just pour a little bleach into your kitchen sink and let the antiseptic fumes waft into the other rooms.
Finally your friend will show up. He or she is going to be so impressed with you. Much more impressed than you are with them. If they were impressive you would have actually cleaned.