#715 Looking at how much dirt came off something you just cleaned

the person who owns this hand is smilingMy apartment looks over a busy downtown intersection.

Shredded bird feathers, swirling dust funnels, and car exhaust fumes cover my balcony in a thick layer of city grime.

If you come over and go out there, I’ll tell you to put shoes on or suffer shocking sockicide. Don’t believe me and your white socks will suffer a case of career-ending blackfoot. It’s a toxic and sad way to go and generally results in grabbing a new pair on the way home.

The worst part isn’t the balcony floor, though. It’s the table and chairs. They get slimed too, but are harder to cover up. I can’t just say “Oh, before you sit down, grab a plastic bag from under the sink and tuck it into your jeans. Thanks!”

No, I can’t do that, I won’t do that, I don’t do that. Instead, I grab a hunk of wet paper towels and slide them all over the chairs and tables while my guests watch with jaw-dropping disgust. The thick mat quickly turns the blackest black you’ve ever seen and I sort of smile and wave it in their face before going inside to throw it out.

And you know why I smile? You know why I wave it in their face? Besides the fact that I’m not a very nice person, I mean. Well, I’ll tell you why: because I’m proud of how much dirt came off. To me it’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s the same as showing your sister that Swiffer cloth with every square molecule covered in dust and cat hair. It’s the awe with which you stare at the McDonald’s napkin that just swabbed all that wet, yellowy grease off your forehead.

Looking at how much dirt came off something you just cleaned causes this big swelling inside you. It’s a few rich, satisfying feelings all swished together. It’s accomplishment, cleanliness, and most of all “I’m glad I’m not sitting in that.”


winner of the dust awards

Photo from: here

Illustration from: here

37 thoughts on “#715 Looking at how much dirt came off something you just cleaned

  1. The grime is a success indicator. You feel like something is clean when you remove a bunch of nasty stuff from it.

  2. I felt this yesterday wiping my finger around my keyboard and seeing all the dust that came off.

  3. Ah yes, similar to cleaning the lint catcher on a dryer. It’s always more fun to do it at a laundrymat than at home because it’s an inch thick. WONDERFUL. Sometimes I go around to all the dryers and clean the lint catchers on all of them because the single dryer I will use is not enough to satisfy me.

  4. Felt this last night when I retrieved a softball-sized ball of hair (and other debris, but mostly hair) from vacuuming my bedroom floor. Well. I felt it right after I felt disgust.

  5. We have a lot of tile and wood flooring in our house. My kids are in charge of swiffing every day. My youngest loves to pull the cloth off the swiffer and tell us boldly, “I have proof!” before tossing the cloth in the laundry hamper.

    1. My sis-turd growing up would toss all of the lint dryer wads back over the dryer into the space behind the machine and the wall. Epic lint stash. I got in on it too. Dad cleaned after it, requested for us to use the trash can multiple times. Never worked. He bolted a trash can to the wall so we could play hoops with the lint. Go Team!

  6. At one point in my life I cleaned offices for a living. I can’t tell you how absolutely dissatisfying it was to clean something that was already clean everynight. No sense of accomplishment whatsoever. Yay big dirty messes! If you are forced to clean you need results.

  7. GO out and buy yourself some BIG gas grill covers…they will cover your furniture and you will be able to use it without cleaning each time. Put a washable rug on the deck…something that water will run through and hose it off when there is no walking traffic below…..and keep lots of cheap flipflops in various sizes and colors by the door…make sure you take photos of the feet that wear them….have a great weekend!

  8. We had a big old house with a wraparound porch, no screens. When the kids played on the porch they got Porchfoot.

    ‘minds me of those “detox” pads for your feet that turn brown and even though they don’t do squat, people go “Look! I’m cleaner!”

  9. We have a Dyson for animal hair. The canister is clear so we can see how much stuff gets picked up. I love looking at it. It’s gross and fascinating. :)

  10. I use to have these face washing pads when i was little that came in a jar. Me and my sister would compare who got the most dirt of their face with the pads. Now that i look back on it, thats pretty gross.

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