Ask a Clean Person’s Gross Substitute

Jolie’s off this week because she deep-cleaned a hole through to the other side of the world, and asked me to cover for her. (Or, she’s traveling, and did not ask me that.) And so here we are.

How come everything gets so dirty so quickly?

I don’t know! It’s like you clean something and it’s basically instantly dirty again; it makes no sense. Why can’t things be permanently clean? Or get dirty in cycles, like a song. I could handle one thing at a time — now dusting, now vacuuming, now wiping down whate-e-ver — but it’s always mounting up. I don’t get it!

How do I clean a trash can?

I don’t know! I feel you, though.

How do you clean a bath mat that has a sort of darker area from when people who come to my house stand on it in their shoes? And when I sometimes forget to take off my own shoes, and stand on it?

Get another bath mat, I don’t know! Bath mats suck. Actually I’m going to get one of those wooden ones with planks. Slats. I’m pretty sure that’s the source of all my problems, and then once I have it, everything will fall into place.

Why is dust everywhere all the time?

I don’t know! If I could get rid of one thing that had nothing to do with making the world a better place I would get rid of DUST. It’s everywhere!

Why don’t you just get a maid?

I keep meaning to, but my apartment is so small I worry she’d show up and be like, “seriously? You can’t handle this by yourself?” And I’d be like, “I know, I know.” I can, it’s just that I don’t know how to do some of the stuff!

I am interested in knowing how to get rid of hair that is all over my apartment. Don’t tell me a dustbuster because shit does not work.

No, definitely not a dustbuster. (Also, honestly, what’s a dustbuster?) Anyway, the answer is there is no answer. Or perhaps the answer … is in the question. No, there is no answer. We are all doomed to live in floaty, clingy nests of our own hair forever. All our loved ones are, too, until they no longer love us, which may be tomorrow. Next question.

Clean to the core and adopt minimalism for every room so when it gets messy it takes under 15–30 minutes for a clean room.

That is not a question, but it sounds intense, whoever asked it! Maybe you can come clean my place, and/or publish a family of websites! : )

Long hair is the enemy of vacuums.

I know, right? And it smells so gross when you’re sucking it up. And pulling it out of the brushy part at the end of the vacuum is so … actually it’s really satisfying, I shouldn’t lie. Hair vs. Vacuum could be the next Eagle vs. Shark or whatever that cute hipster movie was. Maybe stop-motion animation.

An interesting topic in Hawaii: how do I clean enough so roaches leave me the fuck alone?

Oh you’re in Hawaii? Hmm, that’s rough. I would say switch homes right away with someone who lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn.

During my freshman year of college, I made sure to clean my dorm room before I put away my things. I pulled one of the drawers out of my desk and found half a bottle of vodka the previous student left behind!

I also found ultrasound photos of an anonymous baby in the closet of my current studio when I moved in. Also, a McDonald’s bag in the cupboard with French fries of an unknown age because McDonald’s French fries don’t rot after 10 years? WHO KNOWS.

Omg the ultrasound!! When I was a kid my family moved into this old house that came with ancient bedroom sets (splintering bed frames, stained mattresses), and this one bedroom had a nightstand whose single drawer held a wooden box filled with old glass vials of blue liquid! It was amazing, and we drank them right away. Just kidding, we savored them over the course of many hours, and sadly most of us passed on. No, but the dining room was also empty except for a tiny table and a terrarium filled with bugs and snails. We lived in that house for about 14 years until our family fell apart.

Quit the patchouli oil, yo!

No doubt!

I actually have a theory that cleanliness can make the roach problem worse sometimes, because then they have to COME OUT OF HIDING to find whatever disgusting stuff they’re into? What ARE roaches into, btw?

I came home from a trip a couple nights ago and saw the first roach ever in my apartment of almost two years. I screamed so loudly my neighbor came out of her apartment to ask if I was okay. I said, “there was a bug! There aren’t usually bugs, and I was startled. I’m sorry, this is embarrassing.” And she was like, “okay,” and went away. And I hunted that bug down and killed it, because even though I’m afraid of them, I sincerely hate them, and killing them makes me feel courageous and strong.

But I don’t know what they’re into. Freaking people out must be close to the top of their list.

When I was eight or something in Hong Kong, my little brother ate a mango and got it all over his belly and hands and face, and, being the older brother I am, I told him he should wash up. My parents, as they often would, said, “Brian, leave Jon alone!” So I did.

In the middle of the night, Jon woke up screaming. We turned on the light and saw a very large tropical roach flying around the room. Jonathan said the roach had bitten his chest.

On that note, I’m out of here! Jolie will be back next week, thank god.