Friday, April 20, 2012

Stress Cleaning

It’s exam time at our home. My college juniors are taking finals. I remember finals. (And I remember the professors, who on the last day of class, assigned papers due the day of our class final—I’m sure Dante would have reserved a place for them in his Inferno.) At any rate, the stress level in our house has risen. Ariel copes by studying until her eyes melt. Luke copes by watching the Yankees. I’m not sure how it helps. Does dialoguing on Raul Ibanez’s on base percentage distract you from the upcoming American Chemical Society’s exam for Physical Chemistry? (During the discussion, Matt reminds us that 82.01% of statistics are made up.)

I realize a lot of people take study breaks and watch television. This makes no sense to me. When I was in college, neither I nor any of my roommates watched TV. Of course, we didn’t have one in our apartment, so that makes a difference. We were a bunch of stress cleaners—so we’d burn off our nervous anxiety with work. It went something like this. I had an exam in Elizabethan literature and I had to memorize 50 sonnets—yes, 50. So I’d take a break and scrub the shower with a toothbrush. Death to mold and mildew. My roommate needed a break from Boolean Algebra—she mopped the bathroom and kitchen floors on her hands and knees. Another roommate had a nasty Econ exam, she vacuumed the floors, dusted every surface, and scrubbed the counters. Roommate #4 bleached everything. By the end of finals, our apartment was so clean you could eat off the floor. Probably even the toilet lid (though that’s too gross to contemplate), though all the bleach and ammonia might make your eyes water or poison you.

Why can’t my kids be stress cleaners? All I’m asking for is one, maybe two, stress cleaners. I’d really like that. What about you readers? What crazy things do you do to cope with stress?


  1. I wish I was a stress cleaner, instead of stress eater. I'd be skinnier and my house would be way cleaner.

    And 50 sonnets. Wow. I'm not sure I could memorize one.

  2. When I'm stressed I clean too!! And cook! I cook A LOT!

  3. I clean when I'm stressed. It doesn't relax me, but at least I'm getting something done and I can feel like I'm accomplishing something--even if it's just a load of laundry.

  4. Oh man, I wish I was a stress cleaner! Things would be so much cleaner, and I'm such a messy person! Haha.

    Sorry, I'm in the TV club. Sometimes, my brain just needs to veg out, or I eat - which isn't a good thing. During finals, esp. in our last 2 years, one of my roommates would call for a study break usually around midnight by asking, "Who wants sushi?" and then we'd all order late-night sushi delivery, study while we waited, and then when the food came, we'd hang out for a bit. It was good times, minus the stress.

    Other than that, I sometimes write when I'm stressed. I know, crazy right? But it's my procrastination bug kicking in. Whenever I have something I need to do that isn't fun (i.e. studying), I often get a strong desire to write. So I guess I should be stressed more often? :P

    Good luck to all the finals-takers!

  5. When I'm stressed, I perform unauthorized experiments in the basement. . .

  6. I have to clean, exercise or do something brainless when I am stressed. Finals is approaching for me, so I will be doing a lot of that soon!