My Building Has Genovese Syndrome

I love my condo building. I really do. It’s located in a great area. Most of the residents are nice people. I have the top floor corner unit. My next door neighbor is hot. I could go on and on.

But someone spilled powdered laundry detergent in our one elevator over a week ago, and despite probably every single one of the building’s 50-odd residents using the elevator during that time, no one has cleaned it up. It’s like non-lethal Genovese Syndrome.

Someone took the time to write a note with a bold red Sharpie asking the perpetrator to take responsibility for their spillage. Another person took the time to take that note down. And just today, I saw that the words “clean me” had been scrawled in the powder. Cute. Kind of reminded me of an extremely dirty white Honda I saw once, with the words “Also available in white” written on the window.

So today I finally broke down and vacuumed the stuff up. As one of the only renters in the building, I was probably the least likely candidate to care enough to do so, but what can I say. It wasn’t even the detergent itself that was killing me. It was the constant reminder that I live in a building of people too wrapped up in their own lives to deal with even 30 seconds of pro-bono energy exertion… myself included.

29 comments on “My Building Has Genovese Syndrome”. Leave your own?
  1. Jeff Croft says:

    Sucker. Those rich assholes knew you would do it if they just waited long enough.

    You got pwned.

  2. Myles says:

    I have the same problem at work: people open tea bags and leave the wrapper lying on the counter — with the trashcan within reach, or they spill coffee on the counter and don’t wipe it up, or do the same with sugar. Drives me nuts.

  3. amydot says:

    I think that much like “whoever smelt it dealt it”, people think of this as a “whoever cleaned it claimed it” – no one, especially the perpetrator, wanted to be spotted taking care of the mess (especially after it became a real issue of gossip!).

    Nicely done on your behalf! :)

  4. Daryl Cheng says:

    The same kind of stuff happens at my school: this jackass can’t be bothered to throw his paper towels in the bin after he’s washed his hands and dumps them next to the sink, leaving a nice array of damp stuff everywhere.

    I just end up throwing them away for him…

  5. Daniel David says:

    Good for you. There’s nothing wrong with cleaning up after others once in a while. It helps to regain a sense of normalcy after the all this Newsvine-induced fame and fortune.

    However, it is quite a sad commentary on your condo community, perhaps we should have a Mike Industries contest on ways to get back at them for their supreme laziness.

  6. DocDave says:

    Glad to see that sort of thing irritates other people than just me. I have the same problem at work with my co-workers. We all share a area of the building where we test equipment and do some research and development. On anyone day I can walk in and find garbage piled up, or test equipment laying around after the person is finished. Ugh!

    In the end, I usually breakdown and clean the stuff up, because no-one ever owns up to it.

  7. Simon says:

    Sounds like a perfect example of the SEP field phenomena.

  8. Devon Shaw says:

    I’m actually dense enough to ignore something like that. Yours truly is prone to things like leaving the dishes until there’s no bowls left or ignoring laundry until there’s four whole loads to do. It’s not that I don’t care… there’s just always a butterfly to be chased.

    That being said, I’m usually the first one irritated when my roommate leaves the sink a mess in the morning. Go figure.

  9. bravo.

    not that it really matters, but anyone who saw you vacuuming the mess will tend to think it was you who made the mess and begin to think of you as the detergent bandit.

    of course, all you said was “someone spilled …” you didn’t directly say it wasn’t you … hmmm?
    maybe it was the guilt of being too wrapped up in your own life to deal with even 30 seconds of pro-bono energy exertion …

    i see conspiracy brewing … =)

  10. louis walch says:

    the exact reason why i could never have a roomate.

    also, not to support the dirty scoundral (pun intended), but don’t you have a super or building maintanance person. this is their job to clean up such messes.

  11. Tony says:

    Maybe they were just all waiting for the carpet to be replaced?

  12. web says:

    Jamon, that would also assume that Mike does his laundry which to this point has NOT yet been proven to be true.

  13. John Dowdell says:

    … then again, getting out the door, waiting for the elevator, stepping in, and *then* seeing the detergent on the floor again makes for a hard choice… you’d have to go back to your floor, back to your place, get the vacuum, wait for the elevator again… it’s hard to see someone stopping their elevator routine on an outbound trip. Mike did it the other way, making the decision when returning home, and fortunately he owned a battery-powered vacuum or had, like, a really, really long power cord…. ;-)

    (There are some situations where it’s harder to make the right decision… getting into an elevator locks you up more than when you go to the kitchen.)

  14. Adam says:

    That sounds like the place I live in.

    We had 3-4 carts on the parking level that were used to haul up groceries, heavy objects, etc. Yet somehow, they were never to be found. When someone did finally bring them back, they were filled with trash and newspapers – even though the dumpsters were about 15 feet away.

    I would only take care of it when I needed a cart. I felt like voluntarily taking care of their mess would reinforce their jackass behavior.

    Plus in your situation, the apartment would be responsible for halls and elevators – I would think.

  15. Dave Simon says:

    Good on ya, Mike. People will keep putting it off until someone does it.

    Your only mistake is posting on your website that you did it. Now they’ll EXPECT you to do it whenever there is a mess. ;)

    I’m in favor of the signs that say “Your mom doesn’t live here, clean up after yourself.” It never works, but at least it’s kind of funny.

    By the way, it isn’t right for you to say your neighbor is hot and then not post a pic. Is it?

  16. Since you’ve already dealt with the carpet, why not adding some fresh, new wallpaper to the inside of the elevator while you’re at it? I’m thinking of something bright and colorful, like pictures of the actual detergent perp, recovered from the elevator security camera ;)

  17. Mike D. says:

    amydot: Interesting analogy… and probably true.

    Simon: True. SEP is probably a better diagnosis than Genovese Syndrome. Forgot all about that book!

    John D.: That’s a very astute observation, regarding the context of where the spill occurred. It certainly matters. However, there is indeed a power plug right by the elevator and it took me like 20 seconds to vacuum the spill up with my conventional vacuum cleaner.

    Dave S.: I would post a picture of said hot neighbor if I had a still. As of now, I only have video footage from the spy-cam I drilled through our wall. Putting it online would be kind of a bandwidth hog.

  18. Daniel David says:

    You should invest in an appartment with keyed private elevator access. Problem solved.

  19. Joe Blake says:

    Quite the conundrum…

  20. Dave Metcalf says:

    This reminds me of one of my biggest pet peeves: people that don’t return their shopping carts in the supermarket parking lot – no matter how close they are!
    But that’s karma: I was a punk kid that did all the things that now bug the living sh!t out of me.

  21. I wouldn’t worry about the shopping carts. My guess is the people that have to round them up cherish all the extra time it could possibly take away from doing something like straightening an entire aisle of diapers, paper towels and toilet paper. Especially when they get those little cart-herder-mobiles. I mean, come on.. plz.

  22. Joel says:

    Too funny! It sounds a lot like my building – but my neighbor isn’t hot?

    Can I borrow yours?

  23. kareem says:

    Sounds like you need to talk to your condo board about getting a cleaning crew that actually does some cleaning every so often…

  24. Mark says:

    Sounds like some of your neighbors have visited the same public restrooms that I have. Not only can they not find a vaccum, they can’t find flushers either.

  25. Stephen says:

    Isn’t that what strata fees are for? The woman in the crew who cleans our building is in the elevator daily, on her hands and knees scrubbing.

  26. Chad Edge says:

    I’ve been considering how to create a point of contact with my neighbors (I live in Belltown). The problem I’ve had for the last year and a half is my neighbors (don’t know which of the 24) can’t seem to get paper vs. everything else in the world down right.

    Think “One of these things is not like the other…” and you’ll understand.

    We have a paper dumpbin on our ground floor – it’s next to the trash chute. Now, this dumpbin is a handy place (close to the mailboxes) to dump junk mail, leftover newspapers. Paper products. There’s even two handy signs that say “paper only” and “Please, use this bin for PAPER only.” Pretty clear, no?

    No. No, no no no no. Every damn day (when I have trash) I find it difficult to get the trash door open because someone has loaded the area around the paper dumpbin with plastic bottles, car tires, computers (!), litterati…

    I’ve been thinking of making a simple illustrated guide, one targeted to pre-k kids, that shows the difference between plastic, paper, nuclear material, etc. Perhaps some cute saturday morning funhouse character, guiding the residents (with minimal words; literacy apparently fails my neighbors)… can you smell my frustration?

    renting == fun.

  27. Collin Yeadon says:

    Oh, come on Mike! Admit it! You made the mess didn’t you? Don’t lie to me son! I saw you! I SAW YOU!!! YOOU DID IT!!!!!!! WHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY DOOOONNN’TTT YOUUU JUST ADDMITT ITTTTTTT!!!!!!!????

    DAMN IT MR. D!

    Actually that is quite funny, and until recently I would have felt your frustration and no doubt I would have decided to clean it up by the second time I had to pass it (figuring maybe I would get lucky and the person was just on their way to grab a broom).

    Now days, as I have put myself back into the world of collecting paychecks instead of collecting clients, I find my views changing. I know for a fact I would have passed by the mess for days making sure to curse under my breath each time I caught a wiff of the potent white cleaning powder.

    I actually feel guilty even though it’s not my mess, not my building and not in the same state as me just because I know I would have done nothing to clean the mess.

    Although, in my defense, I would have cleaned it had I caused it.

  28. My hero! Please come by my place next week to vacuum all the hair from my neighbours cats.



  29. Bill Gates says:

    Cleanliness is next to Godliness!

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