If you don’t moan about cleaning, you are not human. No one likes it—ever. You can use scented soaps that are kind to the hands and soft sponges that foam up with zeal. You can get state-of-the-art robot vacuum cleaners and floor polishers. Who cares! When I had to move out of my apartment a while back, I had to do a thorough overhaul inside and out so it was major work—with any kind of mechanical help. I put it off until the night before. Ugh. I had nightmares about it.

In one dream, I saw a cartoon character named Tomohiro. You won’t find him in Japanese anime. He is all my own. I was taking the car to the local carwash loaded with rusted appliances, dirty pots and pans, filthy clothes. It was filled to other gills and needed a thorough douse. I intended to open the windows, drive through the washing aisle, and presto, it would all be done at once, and for cheap. How ingenious.

Suddenly, I saw a little boy named Tomohiro playing in the nearby alley. He was only five, slight of build, and cute as a button with black straight hair and a sly smile. He snuck into the carwash one morning and hid behind some fake potted plants. When no one was looking, he grabbed a portable pressure washer and turned it on full blast. It created a deluge on high, the spewing nozzle pointed sharply at the ceiling. The tyke tried to get control but it got him instead. He was flailing about frantically. Tomohiro started spinning faster and faster like a whirling dervish of water. His hair was standing straight on end, his eyes were open wide. He spun with it in hand, never letting go as it fused to his grip. He finally became the pressure washer and disappeared into its mysterious innards. The motor went off and there was no longer a sound.

I awoke with a start, sweating bullets about the lost little boy. Would he ever come out? The power washer was the same small size at the end of my dream (something like this). Whoosh. He was somewhere within. It now lay quieting on the concrete floor, asleep. I was so startled by this strange anime imagery that I dreaded going to the carwash for months afterward. I was able to tote my belongings during my relocation in a borrowed truck and I didn’t care about the cleanliness status of anything one bit. As I unpacked, I dealt individually with each item, sorting piles of wares and apparel accordingly.

I still bitch about cleaning chores to this day, but got through the move intact. I laugh now at the crazy carwash shortcut I was about to undertake in my odd dream. Tomohiro had been a warning of sorts. My efforts at tidying up and restoring things is now done the old fashioned way, when I deign to undertake the required tasks. I even do the car by hand.