Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn Cleaning

I cleaned my flat on Sunday. I washed the dishes, including some dishes from the cupboard that had clearly gone unused for a while, wiped down the shelves and benches, and reorganised how I store both food and crockery. Now I'm left to wonder: "why?"

Cleaning, as an act committed by a randomly sampled person, is not especially surprising. However, the way I view cleaning is similar to the way I view exercising: if one chooses to do it, then one must do it regularly and consistently to enjoy the benefits; otherwise there isn't really much to be gained. I clean like George Lucas exercises. Case in point: a past landlord of mine once described my toilet as "a health hazard".

So what happened? What was going on inside my head that caused me to pick up a bottle of Mister Muscle (known as Mister Muskul in Russia) for, possibly, the first time in my life? And not only pick up, but use extensively.

The only explanation that I can come up with is that I exhibiting very idiosyncratic symptoms of culture shock.

I was told when I arrived in Russia that almost everyone suffers from culture shock, starting anytime from about two to eight weeks after arrival. Tick the box marked appropriate time frame. However, culture shock typically manifests itself as anger, resentment, and even hostility towards ones adopted culture. Nobody mentioned anything to me about short-term OCD.

If I was forced to guess, I could only postulate these two alternative explanations:

Either: I'm such a passive person that I inherently cannot become angry and resentful towards anything much at all, much less abstract concepts such as culture.

Or: I'm so flamboyantly post-modern that I cannot manifest culture shock as anger towards another culture, and this "Shock" must therefore surface as something that could not be interpreted as "culture-ism".

I therefore put the following question to you: what the hell is going on?

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