A Generation Later, Still No Talk of Dust

Day to Day senior producer Steve Proffitt presents an audio collage of voices recorded 25 years ago, discussing something we didn't talk about much then, and don't talk much about now — dust.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And now on this Monday in May, two minutes of something we usually do not talk about.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman #1: Dust is...

Unidentified Man #1: I'm not sure where it comes from, but my living room is full of it, if you'd like some.

Unidentified Woman #1: Dust.

Unidentified Man #1: I think it sneaks in at night...

Unidentified Woman #1: Dust.

Unidentified Man #1: ...when no one's watching.

Unidentified Woman #1: Dust is little pieces of stuff, and it...

Unidentified Man #2: ...comes from underneath my bed.

Unidentified Man #3: Doesn't seem to be any more of it under the bed than on the shelves and all over the cat and...

Unidentified Woman #1: Great big balls of dust will sometimes form, especially very near the source of where dust is made.

Unidentified Man #4: In camp, we used to talk about dust ghosts.

Unidentified Woman #1: Or dust bunnies, I think, is what my mother called them, cat balls or something.

Unidentified Man #5: I can't remember. I was in basic training one time. Woolly bear? Is that it?

Unidentified Man #4: A hair ball. That's easy. It's a hair ball.

Unidentified Woman #1: Cat paws. But I don't call them that.

Unidentified Man #6: Where does it come from?

Unidentified Man #7: You know on screens, there are all these little holes in screens? Well, it grows.

Unidentified Man #8: Toenail clippings and people scratching their heads mostly. Predominantly, that's where most of it comes from. Yes. Mm-hmm.

Unidentified Woman #2: It actually comes from the stars.

Unidentified Woman #3: Well, when it rains, all the moisture goes out of the air, so there's dust left over.

Unidentified Woman #4: But how does it get to the sky?

Unidentified Man #9: God, I hate it.

Unidentified Woman #5: When dust gets out to the rest of the room...

Unidentified Woman #6: Sometimes they're little hairy dust balls. That dust is smaller.

Unidentified Man #10: You know, and there's, like, little wispy balls and stuff.

Unidentified Woman #1: Three dust balls, and you'll get all kinds of carpet fur in them, but you'll find the big dust under the bed where it's manufactured.

Unidentified Woman #7: No matter where you look, no matter what country, no matter what language they speak, they always have...

Unidentified Man #11: Dust is...

Unidentified Man #12: ...what fairies make.

Unidentified Man #13: Dust is the ash of life.

Unidentified Woman #8: Think of it as seeds. Each dust is to be broken down and later reborn in some other form.

Unidentified Man #14: Dust is a series of decompositions.

Unidentified Woman #9: The remnants of a former, more structured existence.

Unidentified Man #1: Dust is leftover stuff, and it comes from things that are gone away, and that's all there is left.

Unidentified Man #15: ...is dust.

CHADWICK: Dust. Those voices collected almost 25 years ago by DAY TO DAY's Steve Proffitt and former NPR recording engineer Lorraine Wilcox.

DAY TO DAY continues. I'm Alex Chadwick.

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