11 November 2009

The Floor's Non-Original Coloring

(If the following paragraph seems a little out of place, it is. It originally came much later in the document, but after realizing that you are not required to read any, much less all of my blog as my teachers are, I thought it best to use the paragraph as a hook to explain why you should continue reading.)

Why does any of this matter? Each of us will at some point will, and most probably already have, socially interact with other people. Each of the people we interact with has a varied potential for dysfunction, dysfunctions that may have a great impact on the quality of our interactions. Understanding where the dysfunction, the dirt and oil, come from can greatly improve the social interaction and also help the person to release some of the dysfunctions and become clean from them (if they choose to, of course).

(I now return to the original document)

Saturday was a busy day for cleaning. I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom. My roommates made some baked beans (literally, baked beans) and had managed to get traces of the beans from one end of the kitchen to the other. I had cleaned the dishes and the fridge and moved on to the floor. As I scrubbed the bean patches off the floor I made a startling discovery: our fake wood floor was no brown with specks of dark gray as I had long assumed, but rather brown with no specks in it at all. I realized that the gray specks were really dirt that was wedged into the tiny crevices of the boards and it had built up over the years until they were semi permanent coloring.
The Dirty Floor. (Note the darkness of the grain, that is not the original coloring.)

As I began to scrub the floor my mind began to wonder and having the random thinking that I have, my mind began to drift to the recent Conflict Management portion of my Communications class. Conflict resolution steps are few but critical. One of the most critical is to understand the view of the other party. This translates to a solid listening skill.

Over time relationship dysfunctions (we can call them "little packets of dirt") are tracked across the floor of a person's life. Some of this dirt is brought in by the person themselves, others come from parents, friends, spouses, children, basically everyone and anyone that crosses our life. The dirt also comes from just being in a normal environment. As we settle into our work, play, relaxation or any other aspect of life, so too does dust and debris settle with us.

The dirt itself is not the problem but is in fact a normal part of life on earth. It only takes sweeping and other basic maintenance to remove. The problem comes from memory (we can call it "natural oils that are emitted from our bodies and are around us everywhere") which collects, stores and preserves the dirt in the tiny crevices of the floor. This oil and dirt storage issue is compounded by pressure (we can call it "outside forces of pressure, whether for good or bad") from people walking on them, thus layer upon layer our commingled dirt and oil until enough is gathered to be noticeable to the naked eye.

While these dysfunctions can be noticed, they are often not. This can be due to several reasons, one of the biggest is that those who come in contact with the dysfunctions assume (for varies reasons) that the floor is the way it was meant to be, it is its natural color. Only when closely examining the floor, at much closer levels than most ever care to get, does it become evident that the floor should be a different color. The issue of color frequently comes when we have not associated with a particular person for long (in comparison to the longevity of their life).

Even for those who grew up with or around a person it can be hard to notice the often slow and methodical accumulation of the dirt, oil and pressure. The change happens so slowly that it is hard to remember back to a time when the dysfunctions weren't there. Even then, the changes are still so subtle they can't always be certain that the color was different, it could just be a glitch in memory.

My personal favorite is: the comparison. A visitor comes over and notices the floor, it seems permanently dirty but they can't remember their own floor clearly enough to be sure. After the visit is over, the guest returns home and analyzes their own floor to find that it is similarly marked but they can't remember their friends floor clearly enough to be sure. Not wanting to make a big fuss over nothing, nor wanting to realize that their own floor is dirtied with dysfunctions and certainly not wanting to find out that their floor is dirtier than most, they continue to journey and make notes of comparison between their own floor and the floors of the various houses they visit. Due to a faulty memory (on purpose or not) and a lack of thorough comparison the observer never determines what the 'normal' state of the floor is or should be.

Why does any of this matter? Each of us will at some point will, and most probably already have, socially interact with other people. Each of the people we interact with has a varied potential for dysfunction, dysfunctions that may have a great impact on the quality of our interactions. Understanding where the dysfunction, the dirt and oil, come from can greatly improve the social interaction and also help the person to release some of the dysfunctions and become clean from them (if they choose to, of course).

Ideally, everyone would recognize their floor is dirty and take the proper actions to clean it. They don't, not usually anyway. It is much easier to simply sweep the floor clean and maybe wipe it down with something wet every week or two. This was in fact my normal cleaning routine every month I have lived here. That changed this fateful Saturday. I tried three different techniques before finding the most efficient one.

I started with a wet wash cloth. Some backed beans had stuck to the floor and I was wiping them up. After finally getting the beans off the floor I noticed that there was a 'hole' where the beans had been. There wasn't really a hole, but there was a definite lack of dirt in the floor grain. This is very similar to working to change something in your life, perhaps a bad habit or distancing yourself from a negative influence. The ridding of the related dysfunction was not the intended benefit but rather an unanticipated side effect. This is a common person with a common goal. While this method works, it is a slow and tedious process that may take an entire lifetime to complete.

My roommate upgraded me to a bathroom scrub brush (the kitchen brush flexed too much) and a bowl of soapy water. This is the method that cleaned most of the floor. It took a long time and a lot of effort. The bristles of the brush moved through the crevices to break apart the compounded dirt and the soap worked its magic to pull the oil away. This is a common person with an uncommon goal: the improve themselves by seeking out and eliminating dysfunctions and neutralizing bad memories. This is a noble and good work for anyone.

Our brush started to die so I went to the store to get a new one and in so doing found a wonderful "wood floor cleaning solution". When I got home I applied the solution and marveled at how quickly the solution, in conjunction with the brush, removed the packed in dirt and oil. The last quarter of the floor was done in minutes, not hours. This method is similar to the last, only improved. No longer is it simply a common person but a person with superior reaching and strivings. This is a person who does not simply work to become better, this person uses their intellect, experience and creativity to seek out (or develop as needed) and use new tools to help them become better. They are a better person before they even start working on their actual goal. Their goal becomes a reaching into the deeper possibilities of their humanity. The goal is specifically designed and catered to their exact position, strength and life plan. Though the goal might have been inspired by another, it is their own and they reach into the fathomless depths of personal effort to achieve the goal for their own sake, not because some else told them to. This is an uncommon person with an uncommon goal. When these two mix, limitless potential becomes available as the increase of self betterment and the far reaching goals unlock exponential growth. This is not because the person is a superior being, one set apart from the rest of humanity and destined for greatness. This is because the common person chose to be more and thus did become more.

Now our kitchen floor is clean and the cleaning detail has been augmented to include the broader and more intensive cleaning that will prevent this buildup from happening, at least as long as I live here.
The Clean Floor. (Note the absence of dark grain. This is the original coloring.)

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