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Ordinary People Taking Action
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One of my absolute favorite things is being home in a freshly cleaned house. There is something about the smell of a clean house, not the bleach-type smell, but the crispness and freshness in the air when a house is really clean. I love it.
However, as much as I love a good deep clean, it’s something that doesn’t happen often enough – at least not in my house. With two teenagers, two working parents, and a dog, it’s almost impossible on any regular basis, to pull everything off the shelves, move the furniture – to move all the stuff actually – and do a proper deep clean.
So, instead, we regularly do a decent clean. Some weeks better than others. Sometimes before guests come over, we will do a quick wipe of the bathrooms, the kitchen, vacuum, fast dusting (if we are lucky), throw the clothes in a closet and fluff the sheets of the bed. Sometimes when we are tired, we barely do anything. Yet, we always know that deep cleaning is best – and, personally, I know that a good deep clean makes me the happiest. Yet, most often, even without the true deep clean, it’s good enough, so we carry on.
At quick glance, America is much like my house.
America usually is a decent clean, yet when you look closely, you see signs of dirt and build-up. The decent clean for many is truly a good enough moment. We all gripe and complain about some of the imperfections, yet for the most part, we love our home, our America. As we do with our houses.
However, earlier this week, something truly amazing happened. I want to say it’s the unthinkable but the last 19 days here in Woodinville, Washington has been full of the unthinkable. In fact, “unthinkable” seems to all the sudden be an overused word.
Without judgement, please, my daughter and I ran some errands, which included stops at:
With the coronavirus outbreak, I know there is a lot of judgement when people are out. I had an errand to run for work, fulfill a promise to my daughter and a necessity stop at the grocery store. We are doing our social responsibility and limiting our outings. However, the other day, with hand sanitizer in our hands, we ventured out.
Our first stop, Starbucks.
My daughter collected stars on the rewards app for the last year so that she could get a free cup. The stars expire on April 1 and she had the perfect number of stars for her cup. With the true possibility of a lockdown here in Seattle, she didn’t want to lose her stars. While I could easily purchase this cup for her at a later point, there was something about collecting stars for a year that got the best of my Mama heart. So, with a mobile order we stopped to pick up our beverages, which also meant she would pick up her free cup. With the ordinance hear in Seattle, all restaurants must be “grab and go”; Starbucks is no different. We walked inside and my mouth dropped. Starbucks had gotten a deep clean. The tables and chairs were neatly stacked up. The floor sparkled and the air smelled fresh. It reminded me of the deep clean feeling I love so much of my own house. Back in the car, my daughter and I talked about how impressed we were with how noticeably clean Starbucks was and a bit sad that they didn’t have the cup she wanted.
The post office was our next stop. Noticeably clean but not nearly as clean as Starbucks. We still took precaution using our hand sanitizer and my daughter was careful not to touch anything in the post office, leaving her hands in her sweatshirt pocket the entire five minutes we were inside.
We added an additional stop as we passed another Starbucks. I agreed to let her run inside to see if they had the cup. Sure enough, they did. Yet, more surprisingly, this Starbucks was as clean as the other one. Impressive we thought.
The roads didn’t have much traffic so faster than we expected, we were at the grocery store. We got caught up in a conversation about the lack of traffic that neither of us talked too much about the deep clean of Starbucks.
Upon arriving at QFC, one of our local grocery stores, it was immediate that we noticed hand sanitizing wipes were back by the carts. As we walked through the grocery store, that same fresh smell was in the air. The grocery store has never looked so clean before, truly.
A huge part of me wanted to stop at a few more places to see if every place was as clean as these stops of ours. Yet, I knew the socially responsible thing to do was to go home. We went home talking about how impressed (and lucky) we are to have businesses in our community doing their part – not just a pretend quick cleaning, but truly deep cleaning. Deep cleaning to protect all their customers and employees.
What I didn’t mention is at all stops, employees were seen continuing to clean throughout the day. We were witnessing new habits being created around cleaning procedures and expectations.
Arriving back home, I noticed the same deep clean feeling of our own home. I have spent the last several days not just doing the initial deep clean but the work to keep it clean daily. We realized once home that we are creating new habits at home as well.
I find it such a good feeling to walk into a super clean house. I found myself feeling the same way about being a customer in a super clean store.
I know we have a long way to go for all of America to get a deep clean; but what we witnessed this week is the start of a much needed deep clean of America. Washington State was the “epicenter” of the COVID-19 outbreak here in United States of America and I hope this is a sign that we are also the “epicenter” of new habits and expectations forming around cleanliness.
If we all do our part; we will help not only stop the spread of this virus, but I believe we will make some new important habits.
Just maybe …. America will get a deep clean because of this virus and we will be able to sustain it.