”It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s….Ehhhhhhh!”

Every superhero has his arch nemesis. Superman and Bizarro. Batman and the Joker (or was it the Penguin?) Mine is my roommate on cleaning day. Now I must admit up front…I won’t dramatize it for literary effect. While I had reason to be concerned at first, things aren’t bad on the home front. We’ve reached a level of co-existence. However, come every other Friday, my loyal readers, I must summon my super powers to fight for what is good and just (and to avoid cleaning how she wants me to. Or had you forgotten this story?)

If you aren’t familiar with the art of Israeli mopping, I suggest you catch yourself up here. As I said, though no one will confuse me for Mr. Clean, I’ll keep the apartment decent looking, provided I get a little kick in the tooseek from time to time. However, problems arise when the American (me) and Israeli (roommate) face off in a battle of cleaning and cultural wills.

The battle usually begins when I decide I can no longer spend the entire Friday day in my room surfing the web. Upon opening my door, it comes to my attention in approximately .7 seconds that I am going to clean. This message is normally communicated by my roommate saying in an authoritative voice, “BEHN-JI, WE AHR CLEEN-EENG DEH APAHRT-MEHNT.” This voice is followed by birds dying, plants wilting, and my spirits falling like Al Bundy at the sound of his wife’s voice.

And while this Superman doesn’t have blue Kryptonite to combat my Bizarro roommate, I do have some strategies to outsmart her (though a more mature adult might ask, “Is it really so bad to give your home such a thorough cleaning?”) This adult says yes out of principle.

Because she hates it, I am assigned the toilet. No problem. I take the Economica, throw some in the bowl, and start scrubbing. For those of you who don’t know, Economica is the all-world cleaner of the state of Israel, the Acamol of cleaning products. Acamol of course is the all-world medicine of Israel. Headache? Acamol. Backache? Acamol. Gunshot wound? No proh-blem!!!!! After a few minutes of scrubbing, I leave the bathroom to tackle my next assignment. “Roommate”enters and exclaims, “Thees ees noht clean! How did you cleen eet?” I look at her with a blank stare, silent for three LONG seconds before answering emphatically, “I didn’t finish yet! I’m waiting for the water to stop running!” A bigger lie has never been told. Did all of Tel Aviv see through that or only those in this apartment? Hey, you can criticize my cleaning if you want but I’m not the one who’s cleaning the shower with a broom. (I’m sorry, my loyal readers, my covert surveillance tactics failed me. I so badly wanted a picture but I kid you not. “Roommate” was scrubbing the bottom of the bathmat with it.)

As I finish my chores, the inevitable becomes the unavoidable. It is time to clean the floor. With “Roommate” in the other room, I must be careful. The slightest misstep will result in her yelling, or as she puts it, talking. Israel has a water shortage and I will do everything in my power to conserve. Do you remember the movie “Misery” with Kathy Bates and James Caan? I’m playing the role of James Caan’s character at the end of the film, carefully plotting my “escape” while being careful not to attract the attention and fury from the scary woman.

She tells me to fill a bucket of water which, from my understanding, will raise the water level in our small apartment by approximately 75 feet. I fill it, plotting my every move as I go. With the roommate only a few feet away in the next room, I act. Small splash here, small splash there, until the floor is covered in just enough water that I can sufficiently clean it, but not so much that it will resemble the giant tidal wave in “The Day After Tomorrow.”

With several strategic and very quick strokes, I clean the floor before the roommate knows what’s happened, dumping half the bucket into the sink as quietly as possible. Kind of like when I was sick as a little kid and poured half the serving of Triaminic Cold Medicine in the sink (except that my mom caught me).
Nice karma I have. “More wah-ter!!!” Did someone tell Picasso “more paint”? Playing along, I toss a little more water on the floor. I’m almost done. I just have to squeegie the water into the 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter hole in the wall, designed to frustrate and boggle the minds of would-be Israelis cleaners. SERIOUSLY, does that little hole automatically cause the floor to tilt the other way, or does it just seem that way? After a few minutes, including when I accidentally launch the black water all over the bottom of the wall, I am done (I love when that happens). The roommate comes in for inspection. I try not to laugh as she looks around. Whew! I passed!

Justice has prevailed. The floor is clean, water is conserved, and I amused myself for about 20 minutes. Did the superhero analogy really make it past the first paragraph of this entry? Not really. Did I buy another 2 weeks of sanity? You betcha.

“Oh, Aaaaaaaaaaaaal!”


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