Proustian housecleaning

You know how a little gesture, or location, or a scent, can remind you of something far removed?  It’s the ‘madeleine’ scene from Proust, of course; it’s supposed to be a vehicle to a fond memory.  Me, every time I clean the porcelain, I think of John Kennedy Jr. 

At some big juncture in John-John’s life (life, not death, maybe wedding?), Christiane Amanpour shared with a breathless nation a little-known bit about him.  It seems they were housemates in their days at Brown University, and as a Kennedy, John had not had the opportunity to earn his weekly allowance by cleaning a toilet; he did not know how.  Christiane broke the magic spell and showed him how to swish and twirl the brush and sponge, and give it a final rinsing flush. 

Actually, I don’t know how exactly she taught this (it’s not that easy to imagine Christiane Amanpour even cleaning a toilet), but nevertheless when I’m cleaning the lowly john I pretend that I’m teaching American royalty how to do it.  It makes cleaning the bathroom seem eversomuch more interesting, and gives a nasty task more gravitas.

The sponge and the Ajax are the little cookie and the cup of tea.


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