It Must Have Been Dust

If you were to look through my childhood photo albums, you’d eventually come across a picture of me vacuuming the house at the mature age of three.

“You got dirt? I’ll be right over as soon as mommy gives me a shirt.” – That was my entrepreneurial tagline as a 3-year-old cleaning tycoon. This may or may not be true.

In the years that followed, I learned how to fold laundry, clean windows, and Windex the mirrors. Windex was my favourite. Those squirt bottles were so fun; still are.

I was paid a handsome fee for my labour – a nice shiny dime. On some occasions, I’d receive a quarter. Oh man, was I rich! I owned property in three different continents by the age of nine.

Before I knew it, I was washing dishes and scrubbing the bathtub. I don’t know why. It just seemed like fun.

That desire to help, and to clean things, was built into my DNA to the point where it became second nature.

My high school cafeteria drove me nuts. Kids thought it was cool to leave all their garbage on the table instead of throwing it in a bin on their way out. I’d see the smile on their face, as they escaped the cafeteria without a teacher calling them back to clean up.

Some people are just stupid and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I always felt bad watching the janitors go over to a table and clean up someone else’s garbage.

When I got to university, I guess people assumed that because I was a guy, my room and bathroom would look like an indoor swamp.

Girls would say, “Wow, your bathroom is pretty clean…for a couple of guys.”

What were they expecting? Bodily fluids in a bucket? We had a toilet! And we knew how to use it!

My room was connected to another person’s room via the bathroom. We never had conversations about cleaning, or who’s turn it was to take out the garbage.

If the garbage bag got full, one of us would take it out. Simple!

We also didn’t have a million things on the counter because why would we? All we had was soap. The rest was kept in our rooms until we needed it.

Apparently, girls don’t operate that way. Oh man, the war zones I witnessed. Every square inch of the bathroom was covered with something. Even the back of the doors. The counters disappeared beneath a million different items.

I’m not judging, I’m just painting the picture.

And then passive aggressive post-it notes would be left on the mirror, informing the other person that it was their week to clean and take out the garbage.

There is nothing that makes me laugh more than a passive aggressive post-it note, telling someone to clean because you cleaned last week. I can laugh for hours about it.

Even if the garbage bag was overflowing, some people would not take it out as a sign of protest. They would refuse to do it because they had done it the last two times.

That is a level of pettiness that is so unbelievable to me, even though I witnessed it on numerous occasions.

All they had to do was walk down the hall, dump it out into a bigger garbage bin, and walk back to their room. They made it seem like they had to walk backwards through quicksand, while eating ice cream, and balancing a dictionary on their head.

Full disclosure: I can be organized, but that doesn’t mean everything is sitting straight on a shelf. I wouldn’t classify myself as anything close to a neat freak. I vacuumed my room once every four months at school, just because of room inspections. If there was dust on my desk or shelf, I’d (eventually) remove it with a Kleenex.

And yet, I was being praised for having a clean room because (apparently) the standard for men to be clean is so low, that it comes as a shock when a guy’s room doesn’t have a million things on the floor.

I’ve never been a “clothes on the floor” person, except for socks. To me, the idea of throwing a shirt on the floor is like putting a pizza slice through a paper shredder. I just don’t think to do it.

So, I’m sorry for not being the shabby baboon you thought I’d be.

In my final year, I volunteered my room to be shown on university tours for two reasons:

1. I would get $5 every time there was a tour group OR $2 every time I answered my phone for them to tell me there wasn’t a tour group. Free money!

2. As a prospective student, I never saw a guy’s room on any university tour I went on.

And all I had to do was throw clothes in the closet, roll up the bedsheets, pretend I hadn’t just woken up or gotten out of the shower, smile, and be personable. No problemo. I am a delight. Welcome to Chez Paulo. Hors d’oeuvre?

I didn’t even mind having 25 people prance through my room with wet boots in the winter because I’m not opposed to messes being made. Stuff happens.

Nowadays, my biggest pet peeve is when an empty toilet paper roll isn’t replaced (you want to see me yell, do this), or dirty dishes are left in the sink “to soak” (big lie).

Those dishes soak so long they wrinkle.

I hate the idea of leaving dishes in the sink, knowing my mom will come along later and have to clean them. That’s not fair.

Back when I worked at camp, some people would return lunch containers to the kitchen after the chef had already gone home, which meant those containers sat on the counter until the next morning – full of food scraps.

And that meant the chef would have to clean them the next day before preparing lunch.

I didn’t think that was right, so some days after camp if I noticed lunch containers lying around, I’d empty them out and clean them before going home. This is the first time I’ve told anyone that.

Another time, I stopped to clean up a juice spill. Had no idea who did it, just that it was there on the floor. Someone saw me cleaning it up and asked why I didn’t just leave it and call the janitor?

Didn’t even cross my mind. I’m not wired that way. I’ve always been a helper.

We’re all programmed differently. What is second nature to me, is the biggest hassle in the world to someone else. I really don’t understand it. Is it laziness? Is it the month we were born in?

If you want to keep yourself up at night, go attend a sporting event and watch the human behaviour that takes place inside the restroom.

Spoiler Alert: Two out of five men won’t wash their hands after urinating.

That’s not a real statistic, it’s just the running tally in my head that I add to during my ventures to the men’s room.

What am i supposed to do? Call them out on it? Chase them down on the concourse with a bottle of soap? No. But if you’re looking for a reason not to hold the railing as you walk to your seat, there it is.

I don’t know if I’m a germaphobe, or if I just believe in common sense. What’s the difference?

If you walk away from this thinking my middle name is, Pristine, then you’d be wrong. There are things in my bedroom I should’ve gotten rid of years ago, but they’re still here collecting dust.

I’m not perfect, but I try to help out.

Besides, I’ve always viewed the vacuum as a hockey stick that sucks up dirt and all I’m doing is stick handling around the house.

I can relate anything back to sports, it’s one of my talents. 

I don’t know how to conclude this post. Should I tell you to go clean something?

Oh, I got it. Okay, here’s the conclusion.

*clears throat*

It must have been dust but it’s vacuumed now
It must have been a mess but I cleaned it somehow
It must have been dust but it’s vacuumed now
From the moment we sneezed ’til the Kleenex had run out.

And there it is, the chorus to “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette, reworded to reflect this post.

You love it, don’t even question it.

With that, I bid you all an achoo! Bless you.

Are you messy? Are you a cleaner? What month of the year were you born in? I’m looking to make correlations. Do you get frustrated when people leave a mess behind? Tell me anything related to this post. I’m here for it.

If you haven’t checked out the comments section of Share Your Blog 2019, I’d advise that you do. By my count, 53 people have shared their blog.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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48 Responses to It Must Have Been Dust

  1. Oh Paul, I’m super embarrassed now 🙈 I am on of those girls who although my bathroom is tidy, I do have something in every inch of it 😬 Makeup, hand soaps, things like that. Also… I am guilty of leaving clothes on the floor! I don’t mean to do it. It’s just that when I go to work or out or something, I go “meh, I don’t like this outfit” and proceed to toss it on the floor to save time 😬 I do grab it when I come home and put it back neatly on the hangers 😄 But man when I go through several outfits I decide I can’t wait, it looks like a mountain lol 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hate people not changing the empty toilet roll over!!! And I can’t leave things to soak in the sink either! I don’t mind plates being stacked on the side to be washed but having stuff in the sink is just the worst! (I was born in October 1981!)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. micqu says:

    I am messy and I am a cleaner. Born in February. Doesn’t make sense? let me explain: at home, I can leave a pan soaking for two days and I am not bothered by dust or things on the counter. We are 5 and I am not the cleaning lady. Everyone, even the youngest knows how the dishwasher and washing machine work. They know how to clean and I refuse to do it all by myself. Though emptying the bin seems to be my chore, because they just pile on it until I take it out. Also… I have mount midoriama next to my bed… Clothes… Always did that and it is a habit that is hard to break. Sorry… I imagine you breaking in a nervous sweat now.
    At work, I hate mess. I clean all the time. I tidy up and want everything to be in its place. I work at a nursery, as a parent, I wouldn’t want to bring my child to a messy place.
    There you have it, people can be both. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      This makes perfect sense. You shouldn’t have to do everything. And no nervous sweat here! What people do in their own home is fine by me, I can’t judge! We all live differently. I agree, places of work, especially places where parents drop their kids off, should always be presented in a nice manner.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Okies, I was born in April and here are my thoughts on some of these things. It might be long, but I think we’re used to that now:

    1) I HATE dishes left in the sink to “soak”. My parents do this and three days later they are still in the sink, the water is cold, and the food is cemented onto the dishes. I’m a “wash after every meal” type of girl, or at least before I go to bed.
    2) I keep a pretty neat and tidy room at my own house. My office desk is a huge massive mess, mainly because I don’t have storage set up to keep everything that’s there. It bothers me but the best I can do is just rearrange the piles to look neat. I make my bed every day, and never have clothes on the floor. But I hate folding laundry. I have a basket full of clothes that I will fold today (maybe) and then it’ll be ok…haha
    3) At my parents’ house, all of number 2 is the opposite. I never make my bed, I have clothes all over the floor, my bedroom is a mess from the day I arrive until the day I throw all my stuff into my suitcase in a huge pile and go home. I don’t know why it just happens.
    4) While I keep a clean apartment, I also hate to clean it. Like I hardly ever sweep/mop/dust. I have plans to do it, set aside a half a day off to dedicate to doing it all at once and doing it well, but when the day comes, I half-ass it just to get it over with.

    There….some of my flaws laid out for you…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      1. The cold water with floating scraps of food in the sink is even worse than the initial dirty plate.
      2. I have a pile of papers and folders on my desk in a tray and have been adding to it for at least 10 years and have no intention of going through it any time soon. But at least it’s contained. All desks need a messy spot, anyway.
      3. Hahaha
      4. I can relate to this. The motivation to get started is hardly there for me, though once I get going it’s not so bad even if I can’t wait to get it over with.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tanushka says:

    You are such a likeable person already, and now my respect for you has increased. I love reading your blog Paul.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Well, I’m a hoarder and a slob, and it’s a terrible way to be…it’s also a really hard habit to break. I’m not sure if I’m lazy- I seem to have an appropriate amount of energy. I am more confused by my strange ability to stockpile junk, and overwhelmed with where to start to fix it. But it is something I am working on. I so admire neat, non-hoarder people. Good for you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I don’t know if I classify as a non-hoarder seeing as there are a bunch of things in my room that I haven’t looked at/used in at least 5-10 years haha. Not knowing where to start is definitely a problem of mine as well. But at least the dishes are clean!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am very clean, and can’t stand when others leave messes behind themselves. I was born in 1973 and am not singing that song in my head….It’s must’ve been love…LOL


  8. peckapalooza says:

    I’m a fairly clean individual, but I hate cleaning. That said, I prefer to just put everything in its place immediately so that it doesn’t pile up, making me have to deal with it all later. As far as vacuuming goes, I honestly just don’t think about it most of the time. Looking at my bedroom floor, it could go for a good vacuuming, but I probably won’t do that until I move out at the end of the month. When I was a kid, my chore, before I was old enough to be forced into lawn mowing and general landscaping work outside, was dusting all the things in the house. This taught me at a young age that having adorable knick knacks was pointless and meant that you only have more things that have to be picked up and dusted. Pretty sure that’s why mom thinks I don’t have a sentimental bone in my body, because I refuse to keep the kind of crap she had sitting around the house for 30 years. And let’s discuss the empty roll of toilet paper. I once came home to see that my then roommate had emptied the roll and gone so far as to retrieve a new roll, but he just set the new roll on top of the empty one. Because taking that extra step and putting the roll on the holder was just too much. When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Your comment about little knick knacks just getting in the way is so true. I used to have a bunch of little things – bobbleheads and other stuff – sitting on my desk but it was always so annoying having to remove them just to wipe the dust away, so I threw a bunch of them out and don’t even care. Less is more. Ohhh yes the half effort of replacing an old roll. I hate when they start a new roll but keep it on the toilet tank, rather than just sliding it on the holder which takes no effort. Drives me insane.

      I appreciate the Home Alone line at the end. One of my favourite movie quotes ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am a cleaner by nature which is surprising.. my parents are messy pigs. My current roommate which is a pothead is a completely lazy pig. On several occasion, I’ve had to take his weed and place all his dirty laundry that he leaves scattered all over the place, dirty dishes, snack wrappers, and pizza boxes on top of his weed and laptop WITH a sticky note stating, “want your shit? Clean up your f***ing mess!” … UGH !! 😡 I’m a Sagittarius and he is a Libra… he sheds like a damn husky! His hair from his head consumes the bathtub that I have to power wash it before taking a shower… I hate hair.. it makes me gag.. I just gagged thinking about it.. I don’t want to go back.. Also, not your typical female who has makeup or anything to clutter the sink counter.. other then with bath supplies and candles! Hahaha .. don’t get me started with the toilet paper roll… I’ve started a war because of the paper toilet roll being left there empty or.. or! My stupid roommate likes it take it off and put it on the bathtub ledge cause he doesn’t want to twist his stupid torso 30 degrees to get it.. I’m going to go make tea since I royally just pissed myself off. Bye Mr. Clean! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      We just had a synchronized gag after I read about the hair thing. Man, you’re like his mom. Maybe this year his goal will be to be clean and you’ll return to a clean everything! (Probably not, don’t let me get your hopes up). A toilet roll off the holder? That’s just wrong. You must have the patience of a saint. Here’s hoping your place is still standing when you return!


  10. Lee Dunn says:

    Great post, Paul. In my early twenties, I spent a lot of time at a friend’s house. He rented a basement apartment, and worked for the gas company. Lots of times, he slept in his uniform so he wouldn’t have to get up too early for work. The floor was like a minefield, with pizza boxes (containing cold pizza), empty or half empty pop cans, piles of dirty clothes, and dishes “soaking” in the sink. One time I saw mold on them. He just used paper plates after that. I’m not the cleanest guy, but, like you, I’ll pick up things left lying and do the dishes when needed. I’m married to a clutterbug, and we have frequent disagreements on that subject. Your comment on the toilet paper is a classic peeve. Another in the same vein is the pathological litterbug. The worst one I ever witnessed happened when I was stopped behind someone at a traffic light. The passenger proceeded to open her window and chuck out mounds of garbage right on the pavement and sidewalk. Driver just gunned it and took off.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I can picture that basement apartment so clearly. I bet he also had a pest problem, or was close to having one.Those plates must’ve been sitting in that sink for weeks. Throwing garbage out the window is pretty bad. Maybe they ran out of space in their car to put it? I’m sure the floors were full of garbage too.


  11. Lauren says:

    hahahahahahahaha I am guilty of the passive aggressive post it notes. I am a rare clean female. I grew up sharing a bathroom with a fairly clean brother. Going to college and sharing a bathroom and kitchen with other women was the absolute worst. I had a couple roommates that just refused to clean the bathroom or just rinse their hair out of the sink… like how did it even get there?? Then I moved into a house – then apartment – with roommates who refused to clean dishes… you used it, so you should clean it. With my dorm roommates, the post-it was my go-to, because I wasn’t friends with them and I rarely saw them, so it just felt better in my mind. NOT. But when I lived in the house/apartment, those roommates were my friends, so I would always try calling a meeting or just politely asking them to grow up and clean up after themselves, but when that failed I tried the post-its. They weren’t always successful, but it beat automatically doing everything myself.

    End rant.

    Thanks for this glorious post XD

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lauren says:

      oh and I was born in April….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hahah I had so many friends like this, who tried to be really nice about trying to get others to clean but were ultimately frustrated by the lack of help. I just want to know who your roommates thought would clean the dishes if they didn’t? Thank you for owning up to the post-it note thing lol. Maybe it works on some level. I always found it hilarious. Glad you enjoyed this post!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Dutch Lion says:

    Great column Paulie. You’re awesome man. I really dig the Roxette song. Hilarious! “It Must Have Been Dust!” You’re the new Weird Al.

    I’m a neat freak. Women are the worst. They are dirty and disgusting! The worst I’ve seen are college girls. I can’t tell you how many sorority houses I had the bad misfortune to attend and saw things I wish I could unsee.

    My wife isn’t that neat either. Kills me man! I need a germaphobe concubine or something. Hmmm, kinda weird but intriguing.

    Let’s talk about washing hands. Old men are worse than young men. Oldies must think, “Hell, if I made it this far without washing hands, I’ll live another day without washing”. Or perhaps it’s a ploy to kill others so as to not waste natural resources on them. Maybe it’s a war thing. Don’t know. But what I DO KNOW is to never touch railings or to shake old men’s hands. If forced to shake hands, proceed to wash hands soon thereafter with that lava soap. That’s some good soap.

    Great column. Later bro,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha well isn’t that marriage in a nutshell? You marry someone who is a bit opposite you but tolerate it because the love is stronger haha

      Old men are the worst at it, I agree. They’re also more likely to carry a rag with them and blow their nose in multiple times a day. The signs are all there. I haven’t touched a railing at a sporting event in maybe 15 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Erika says:

    I am programmed to be clean and organized. It’s not difficult to keep things nice and tidy if you just pick up after yourself. Unfortunately, I live with a husband who is the opposite of me, and the two kids seem to be going his way.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Muntazir says:

    Helping is so good a deed and I am so glad to read this post. I am a cleaner. I don’t like disorganized things. Have a good time.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Barb Knowles says:

    My #1 pet peeve is the toilet roll dispenser issue. I was going to write a blog post about it once. When my parents were older and I would visit I accused them of not using one of the bathrooms because they were waiting for me to change the empty cardboard roll. I swear,sometimes I think I’m the only person in our country who changes the roll dispenser daily. You must be the Canadian person who does it. The absolute worst is the school bathrooms. I have learned the hard way to check that there is toilet paper (not always easy to tell with the covered roll) in the individual stalls.

    2) Our school cafeteria looks like a bomb hit it during lunch time with the custodians going crazy trying to keep up with the slobs who leave their food crap on the tables. I always wonder if they do that at home.

    3) Don’t get me started about people (not just men), not washing their hands after using the bathroom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      As your blog son, we share the same genes so it’s no wonder we share the same pet peeve regarding toilet paper. School bathrooms are notoriously unreliable and messy, I’m sorry.

      I always wanted to know why people left their garbage on the table, even though a bin was right at the end of the table, maybe 10 feet away. Are they afraid they’ll look lame if their friends see them caring enough to throw something out? It baffled me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        I think you’re right about the cafeferia. Obviously a lot of students do throw their garbage away. But so many don’t. Feeling cool? Possibly. Being inconsiderate? Definitely. Not dope.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Ariel Lynn says:

    I’m messy as all get out. I live in what I call “organized chaos.” I know where everything is, but you wouldn’t know it from my living space.

    That said, I don’t do food garage in my room. That gets put in the kitchen trash, where it belongs. Dishes do stay in place until I wash them, about 3 hours later, but I don’t leave food lying around.

    Even typing that, I know how bad it sounds. I could totally use a “helper.” I’ll give you 5 bucks! LOL

    That said, my bathroom is pretty organized & clean. Mostly because I share it with my sister & she’s much more “minimalist” than I could ever dream of being. Also, I always wash my hands after using the bathroom & clean up after myself in public. That’s just gross otherwise! 🤢

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I was wondering how you were going to explain “organized chaos” and then you explained it perfectly and I completely understood that you’re not a messy person, you’re just you. We all have our methods.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. lindasschaub says:

    Paul, you are a go-getter and not a “clean freak”, just a helper … the world needs more people like you. I’ve lessened my grip on having a perfect house, inside or out, as I got older, as I decided dust and weeds would keep … sometimes when the weeds grab me by the ankles as I walk past them, I do feel badly, though. You make valid points with everything – why do some people delight in having people clean up after them? It is rude and quite frankly, condescending. You my young friend have your head on right!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you for the kind words! I really don’t know what causes someone to leave a mess being, especially in public. What they do in their own home doesn’t affect me. But in a cafeteria or at a food court in the mall…there are always dirty tables we have to avoid because someone decided to walk away leaving their mess behind. I don’t get it. It’s like putting a shoe on and not bothering to tie the laces.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. prospermind says:

    I am a December child,
    And even though I can be,
    Quite messy sometimes,
    I prefer things tidy and clean. 🤷🏼‍♂️😜

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ely says:

    WHATTTTT???!! Did you just do a remix to It Must Have Been Love??!! WHATTT LOL. I’m surprised you know that somnngggg! I’m not surprised however, that you are who you are. You’re nature kind of shines through your writing and I always figured you were just neater and kinder and more helpful than most
    Men WOULD be. Isn’t it obvious? How many men WRITE in a blog? Some. But not many. There’s a certain level
    Of OCD to writers but most aren’t neat. As for me? I’m a neat freak but with 2 jobs 3 kids and a man that well, leaves clothes on the floor and doesn’t do dishes LOL it’s not easy. I try. Then I have meltdowns and then everyone freaks out and grabs the mop and broom and starts helping while shivering in fear that I’ll end up on the next episode of Snapped. You’re a true genuine example of an AWESOME all around guy. Seriously!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Yes I know that song! I may or may not linger on YouTube listening to old songs from the 80s/90s from time to time. My dad always listened to the oldies when I was growing up so I picked up on a lot of songs kids my age don’t listen to. MY REMIX WAS AMAZING THOUGH RIGHT?

      I feel like 90% of bloggers are female and the rest are men and about 8% of us are the same type of person. Angry, messy men don’t have time to blog because they can’t do sentences good. Your son is probably a better writer (I saw the IG post – he’s a kid genius!)

      Haha you should “hide” a camera in your house and whisper to your family that they’re on a hidden camera show for TLC about cleaning so they better be on their best behaviour. Where do I get these ideas…….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        Lol!!! I like your dad! Stand-up guy! I can tell by his taste in music and clearly he did a great job helping to raise you! Oldies like that are my life. I BLAST and jam to Drops of Jupiter and anything by Stevie B. like I’m a drunk on karaoke night and the stage is mines!!! Ugh! So many feels!

        And yea no. 88.97 percent of men are angry and can’t write full sentences you’re 104.67 percent correct there! My son IS such a surprise!!! The kid doesn’t even STUDY! I’m like whhhaaat?! Pfffft.

        As far as hiding cameras lol I’m the least tech-smart person in my home so no one would even believe me.
        I’m better off just threatening lives and stuff LOL!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Drops of Jupiter!! I haven’t heard that in a while. I’ll have to listen to it and then click around to the related songs on YouTube and go down that rabbit hole of oldies. I’ll leave the drunk karaoke to you though!

        Your math is Einsteinian!

        LOL ok then. Stick to your strengths aka threatening lives!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        Do it!!!! That music is just so soothing. At least for me it is.

        Thanks now I’m gonna call muscle Einsteinian. I’ll let that get to my head. I said in 2019 I wouldn’t doubt myself or neglect compliments. I’m tooting my own horn! Dassit!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

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