by Mary Robertson, 04/16/2020, Huntington Wood, Mi
Blue Sponges (344 words)
Corona has made me cleaner and neater. Random objects are put in their place each night and my kitchen gets a good scrubbing daily. Lately (even before Corona) the only kitchen sponges in stock have been the blue kind, as in not the yellow and green kind, as in the “non-abrasive” variety which is code for “won’t really clean a thing no matter how hard you scrub.”
I don’t know who bought these useless things, but it sure wasn’t me. I’ve been called abrasive my whole life and I prefer things that are not afraid to take the top layer off. Gentle, mincing, tiptoe-around-the-problem types are not for me—in people or sponges.
But that was pre-Corona. This month I’m starting to doubt the value of abrasion. Yesterday (Day 30 or so of confinement, but who’s counting?) my daughter made a joke of something sad I’d told her from my childhood and I, usually tough-as-nails, found myself nearly in tears. And last week I blurted something judgey in an email and hurt someone else’s feelings in a deep and possibly lasting way that causes me true regret. Maybe Corona has already taken the top layer off all of us and we’re feeling a little tender.
So as I scrubbed the sticky counter this morning, once again cursing the blue sponge, I stopped for a minute. I admitted to myself that it took more effort to clean this way, but that it could still be done, possibly with less damage than the other sponge would cause. The yellow and green one. The abrasive one.
I was never a particular fan of either George Bush, but the elder might’ve been on to something when he called for a different kind of nation. A kinder, gentler one. A place where people are more patient and giving. Less selfish and greedy. Less harsh.
I might try that this week. Being nicer. Less abrasive. More like the blue sponge. Maybe we’ll all come out of this being blue sponges. I can think of worse things.