J. got a wild hair yesterday, borrowed our landlady's vacuum cleaner, and vacuumed the whole house. Except my room, which I did. I hadn't noticed that it needed vacuuming until one evening when J. and I were watching a movie. There was only one lamp on, which for some reason illuminated the area under my desk.
I'm not much of a duster. The dust is not as bad here in Austin as it was in Jersey City when my windows were only a couple yards from a very busy street. Or southern Utah, which is pretty much made of dust.
Dust reminds me of Quentin Crisp. Quentin Crisp lived on E. 4th St. during the years I lived in the East Village. It wasn't really a boarding house he lived in, but it was a four story walk-up, all tiny, single rooms, each with a sink, and a shared bathroom on each floor. Two or three times over the course of many years living in the neighborhood, I went home to this building with a boyish man with white, white teeth and long eyelashes whom I met in Stuyvesant Park. (The two of us had remarkably compatible sexual tastes.) Quentin Crisp had violet hair. I passed him in the stairwell a couple times; he was coming up and I was going down. Quentin Crisp didn't believe in dusting; he said that after the first three years it doesn't get any worse.
That reminds me of Annie Dillard's amazing book For the Time Being, which is all about dust. Well, it's about other things too, but mostly it's about dust. (It's a shame about the word "amazing," another in a long list of ruined words, like "awesome," and "gay.")
Having caught the spring cleaning bug from J., I went on to scrub the mold off the bathtub, shower walls, and toilet. Let's just say the garden was not the only thing growing around here. I can tolerate a dirty bathroom for a pretty long time -- it's just a bathroom. But it sure is lovely when it's clean.