Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Don't You Even Know How to Use a BROOM?!"

There wasn't a lot of regular cleaning in my house growing up, as is typical in a hoard.  At least once a week my mother or dad would demand, "Go clean your room!" but I wasn't allowed to get rid of things I'd inherited from Dante (like entire collections of books) or anything someone had made for me (such as nursery decor).  I had no idea "getting rid of things" was something most people did.  As far as I can tell, when I was in elementary school I still had every toy and piece of decor I'd owned since birth, which made tidying up problematic.

I remember my dad helping me clean my room by parking his wheelchair in the doorway so I couldn't leave, watching me, and occasionally yelling at me to clean.  I remember my mother helping me once by actually sitting down in my room with me and then rifling through my belongings until she found something I had written, read it aloud in a mocking voice, and laughed. 

On one of the few occasions that the floor of my room was mostly clear, my mother presented me with a broom and told me to sweep.  I was maybe seven at the time.  I had never seen someone sweep in real life since you can't sweep hoard, so I brushed from side to side haphazardly like I'd seen Cinderella do in the Disney animated movie.  My mother stopped me, shouting, "GAWD!  Don't you even know how to use a BROOM?!" and took the broom away to show me the "right way," the way janitors do it on TV (my frame of reference for normal household behavior will forever be what I've seen on television, I just realized). 

I don't understand why she thought I would know how to sweep a floor when I had literally never seen it done.  She had similar reactions to other chores, such as getting angry that I "never washed the dishes without having to be told" when I was eight and had literally never washed dishes before, or been told to wash dishes, or been permitted to wash dishes.  Wanting to help out also tended to get me yelled at for getting in the way or doing things "wrong."  "Why don't you know how to do this?" she asked me about various skills throughout my life.  "I remember teaching Dante this when he was six!"  Dante is seven years older than me.

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