You Either Clean The Communal Lint Trap, Or You Don’t

And either way, I see you.

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Photo by Marshall Williams on Unsplash

You know what, I don’t want to touch your lint. This is not tall order. I’m not asking for a Parisian weekend here, just a few basic manners I incorrectly assumed were table stakes. I’m requesting that the adult laundry-doing population of my apartment building to stop walking away from their weekly chore without fully completing their obligations as users of communal facilities. You wouldn’t leave a pair of jeans behind, but—apparently—half of y’all feel no need to clean up the fabric dust you generate. I could let this go…but I won’t. Because I don’t want to touch your lint.

When I place my soggy clothing and linens suitable for machine drying into one of the four communal appliances in the cellar of my apartment building, I want to find a lint trap clean, free of debris, and ready to go. What I don’t want to find are the remnants of your shitty gym shorts combined with an outer layer of dog hair. It’s disgusting, and shame on you. If I had their number I’d phone your parents.

Sometimes I choose wisely. Sometimes I pick the dryer someone has had the common courtesy to clean before retreating back up to their residence to continue watching Mind Hunter, and I hope they enjoy the second season. Sometimes the world is beautiful and good and high fives me in the form of a clean lint trap. Then there are the other times, and they are dark indeed. Or light, depending on the load itself.

It’s nasty! Who actually are you, to think that it’s my job to touch your lint? The sheer audacity of it all. To think that a timer running out signals nothing more than your cue to remove your fresh, fluffy clothing. You’re not done, heathen! You have a courteous task left to perform and several of you in this building are neglecting your job as respectable beings. I bet you leave your tray tables behind in mall food courts too, don’t you?

I clean the lint trap every time, I’ll stand in my superiority about that. I would never ask another grown person to touch the remains of my laundry. I would find too much shame in it! The idea of someone else having to do a chore that belongs to me—I could never ask such a thing of another. Gross.

Where is our decency, that’s what I’m really getting at here. Where is the sense of community, of collective responsibility? Why am I constantly finding and having to address the inconsiderateness of others, one ball of gnarly fluff at a time? People, take a look at yourselves. Take a look at your laundry. Collect your propriety, your decorum, and your damned lint. I’ll do my part to wash your uncouth behavior from my sight, and I’ll not fold to your ill manners any longer. I don’t want to touch your lint.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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