New York City is dirty. There is a fine black dust everywhere, I think it is the result of all those cars driving over all that asphalt. It comes in between the window and the frame and settles on the surfaces of my apartment. My windowsills are white and a week after I sweep up the dust they are black again.

The Tuesday night I cooked my lentils and the pot boiled over I didn’t want to clean it up. The stove was hot and the sink was full and so forth. Besides, I wasn’t working the next day so I would clean it then. I got up the next day and scrubbed off the dried up mess, then I wiped down the rest of the stovetop. As soon as the wet sponge came in contact with the fine black dust, it turned to black streaks on the stove. The black streaks annoyed me, I had to clean the whole stovetop now, which meant I had to take the burners off and wash them, but the sink was full of dishes.

Everything in my apartment is small, that means big jobs have to be done in stages. I washed as many dishes as would fit in my dish drain, then I had to stop and do something else until they dried. Then finish washing the rest, then I could take the burners off and put them in soapy water in the sink, then spray the stovetop and wipe it down. Then lift the top to see if anything had fallen through and needed to be cleaned up. So now the stove was nice was clean. The counters looked dingy next to it. I’m pretty sure you can guess what had to happen next. Moving everything aside, spraying and wiping and moving back until the whole kitchen was bright and shiny. It’s amazing how long it takes to get such a small area clean.