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.”
Photo from: here
Illustration from: here