Monday 9 May 2011

I’m creative; you can’t expect me to be tidy as well!



wahèb khaled khodja

Cleanliness is a state of mind for a lot of people; my mind is clutter-free and I would qualify my house as relatively tidy and clean despite my rebellious approach to cleaning and house chores, in the way I HATE them.

I don’t know about other areas of the world, but growing up in Algeria you’re subjected to the Friday “ménage” which is a weekly routine in the form of a spring cleaning;
You wake up to a scene from a plane crash, windows flung open, wind blowing through, curtains flying, you stick out your nose from under your blanket and you catch instant frost bite, your bedroom is upside down, the washing machine going, taps running, all doors open, It’s a horror movie, and your mother is playing the role of the villain, quite torture, not a word is uttered but she somehow guilts you into getting up, probably by pacing the corridors back and forth, making all the beds in the house, making as much noise as she can to make sure you’re awake and aware of the efforts she’s perpetrating, so against your will and desire, you get up, skip breakfast and help her finish the housework and by help I mean take over and finish everything alone, whilst she gets on preparing lunch.

Years and years later, I sit and observe my sisters go at cleaning their houses in the same methodical and obsessive manner my mum did, they clean everyday, they wipe their granite tops several times a day and wash their walls? Who washes walls for crying out loud! Although they pay someone else to do it for them, it remains an obsessive behaviour that needs looking into, I sit there rolling my eyes and congratulating myself on my no-cleaning policy.

Memories of house chores give me knots in my shoulders and shivers down my back, you are made to clean an already clean and humongous house, indulging therefore in serious cardiovascular activity so you skip your Friday activities as you already had a hard workout, your hands chafe and you develop calluses on your palms, strong gluteus maximus, a foul mood for the rest of the weekend and a strong hatred for the piece of hard material used for cleaning the floors they call it Nechaf or cerpiere as I twist it to dry it over the bucket of water filled with bleach, I smile at the vision of my twisting it around the neck of its creator. My mother always brings me back from my murderous day dreams by pointing out a corner I missed or laugh at my weak efforts, which are consistently poor every week until I am no longer asked to do them. There's hope still...

Of course I rebelled against the system (my mother), 9 times out of 10, I would refuse to clean and seek refuge in my dads room who hated the Friday cleaning routine my mother hoarded us into, he would ridicule the whole thing and treat my mother of worshiping the Nechaf, she of course would ignore him and would not allow him to enter the house if the floor was still wet as it would leave marks on her precious marble.  I never minded doing the dishes as I found it therapeutic and relaxing even though the radioactive-like washing-up powder “LOMO” is slowly eating at my hands and it seems there's always someone continuousely piling on dishes onto the sink just as I'm nearly finished.

My mother is always claiming that Housework won’t kill me, I beg to differ and, well, why take the risk, I prefer to sit down with a good book or go out with my friends, “not before you finish hanging up the washing” she would say from her evil throne.  This is where pocket money comes in handy, my little sister would do it for 50 dinars and she will throw in a bonus too…she will bring me my café and lait in the afternoon.

I now, live far from the crazy Algerian cleaning monster that took over all the females in Algeria; Thankfully I have never been contaminated by this demon, and will continue waking up every weekend guilt free and as long as I do it with my own accord and in my own time, then it is ok, I will leave my fellow Algerians and other females around the world to their bleached cerpieres and to their weekly pledge of allegiance to the frottoire (1), I personally prefer Kassaman (2).

(1) A standing format of a window cleaner used to clean tiled floors
(2) Algerian National Anthem
Art by wahèbkhaledkhodja


  1. Hehehehe!! I can TOTALLY relate!
    I am tidy though...but hate the actual cleaning part!..this is where i thank God for being in a country where getting someone to clean up my place regurarly is easy and cheap! :D

  2. Saha fik, cleaners are no longer cheap in London, and you can't even trust them! besides I am a nature lover and my house is a dust bunnies protection zone!

  3. Being male we were exempt , thank god! Good old nechef and Omo :) miss the neighbours tesyeq though with the dress tucked into knickers , bit pervy but only did when I was a child, once I grew my chlagham they stopped doing it in front of me:)

  4. @ Malek: of course men are exempt, Men are too busy sitting on the throne next to their mothers!

    lol@ dress tucked into knickers

  5. I've now been dethroned and been trained to clean, no OMO but there is CillitBang, Bang and the Dirt is gone :)

  6. people here are so dirty though, you gotta admit that!oh and people living with dogs hmmm (dogs being the said species known for eating their own shit, oh yes they do, I know, i have SEEN it with MINE own eyes) .... like my neighbours for example, i personally think that the homeowners are the dogs, and their human counterparts are their dogs, so to speak.

    i am untidy but clean :P . i indulge in cleaning the whole place once a week, an unnecessary evil.
    am a big fan of febreeze myself.

    anyway, what do you think of dogs and their humans (or vice versa) sharing ice creams?

  7. I love dogs but don't think I could live with one! I always had a cat growing up though so I know that's ok! but then again cats clean up after themselves and dogs eat their own fesses apparently!

    Sharing ice-creams lol

  8. HAHA! That powder for the dishes is a health hazard. It's like powdered acid. You've gotta love Fairy in all its exotic scents!

    Here we say 'cleanliness is next to godliness'

    In DZ cleaning is only close to Allah in the sense it is a form of martyrdom.


  9. Spot on , in my country is the same but on a Saturday , here the people are very messy, they do spring cleaning only onces a year. By the way , I love Algeria and yoryuja , sorry my spelling .Saja .

  10. @Tdw haha febreeze, instead of cleaning why not just hide the smell with febreeze :)
    regarding dogs I think its a religious thing back home, which they try to justify by finding faults with the dog's cleanliness !

  11. @ Anonymous: do you mean Jurjura?
    @ TDW: MA3FOUN ;)

  12. @Ma3foun? i'll find out shortly what it means exactly ;).

    @ Maleko: probably a bit of both, but dogs are really dirty, i know that from first-hand experience. as much as i love dogs as well, they're disgusting.

    a thought: dog licking baby's face hmmm nice.

  13. ahhahahaha...i can totally relate to it...i hate cleaning friday....i used to have fights with mum so i dont do it or pay my sisters so they do it for me..and i used to say to mum that i wont pass my exams just coz u make me do this...hadak lomo shit man, it hurts in the eyes, let alone hazardous effects on the skin...walah easily u can develop serious skin my sister has the same cleaning virus and she fights with bro everytime he walks in when the floor is not dry...why not having a duvet day, just be lazy and watch tv under the duvet...

  14. Nice post. Well done.
    My den remains peaceful until I emerge roaring at Midday when the seasonal dinner will be waiting and sworms rush to keep the throne worthy of its magnificent dweller
    Lived as a king, still enjoy being the king.

  15. @ Anonymous: I don't blame you or the other millions of Algerian (and non Algerian)men...I blame the mothers and sisters!

  16. blame yourself :P - btw, completely unrelated, heard of/about slutwalk?

  17. Slutwalk: because we've had enough

  18. dont know why but they made me think of your blog lol..i thought i share it with you...


  19. Friday “ménage” is the best time
    for a man who wants to see a woman he plans to mary , in reality :)
    ( no makeup , no haircut ...)

    And he will probably love what he sees !!


    " La beauté vient de la vérité" :)

  20. @ Bruno: is this your technique to search for your wife?

  21. Chapeau for this post DZ-Chick...just I don't agree with you in the last's true we used to hate it when the friday cleaning is vrooming...but believe me it's so charming and refreshing!///

    Once again thanks for refreshing our memories with all these things!

    @ Bruno: better send your mum or sis to the look for a wife!

  22. Merci dz cheikh, which point don't you agree with?

  23. In the last paragraph where you pledge against the Algerian cleaning monster...I think it's totally gone nowadays with the lazy poshy new girlie generation in Algiers and Algeria....fet eli fet!


    PS: I forgot to sign my last did you know it was me?///IP thing?

  24. Perhaps some have changed but it's still a national fleau le menage lol

    Not the IP, i recognised your writing style I guess and the continuity in your thoughts between the previous comment and this one.

  25. Good recognize without the IP because of the IQ!

    National Fleau...le menage hahahah, but you must admit it's a nostalgic ritual!


  26. Ah you flatter me Sir.

    Nostalgic...not for me, on my Nostalgeria post I didn't refer to le menage once! NOT once! ;)

  27. Did I refer to my IQ or yours by the way?


  28. lol I think you were refering to mine but it could just as well be yours ;)

  29. DZ-Chick I grew up in France with an Algerian mother who had emigrated there at the age of 7 and I still can relate to your post. Although the scene took place on Sunday not Friday.
    You were quite fortunate though as the cold and noise woke you up...... I was forced out of bed very early as 'le monde appartient a ceux qui se levent tot' and trained from the age of 6 for that type of torture, it was clearly child abuse, lol.
    Similarly to you I rebelled against that time-wasting obsession. Time is valuable and I prefer to spend it in pleasure induced activities when not at work.
    Nevertheless cleaning has to be done, highly unfortunate really!! Maybe I should hire a Eastern European sister to carry out the overwhelming task.


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