When I lived in Belgium I shared the kitchen with upwards of 20 other students. Although some were better at it than others, it was a requirement that as soon as you finish your meal you should wash your dishes as others are waiting to use them and/or a messy kitchen pisses people off. So, I learned to be an avid dishwasher, and this amazing thing happens when you take care of things right away–they are done! You don’t have to do them later!
Moving into an apartment with 3 other women was a bit of an adjustment. It took me a bit to realize that not everyone has this type of dish etiquette and such is okay. I might get a little frustrated in my head, but I’m careful not to act upon my frustrations because I know that it is just me being anal. My roommates are not trying to make me angry, they are just being themselves.
I’m standing over the sink this morning looking at the plates and silverware from last night wondering how hard much harder it would have been to simply open the dishwasher and put them away then to toss them in the sink (which, in my perfectionist’s mind clutters the area). Realizing I’m living in community and am slightly crazy I take a deep breath and let it go. I then am looking around for a mixing spoon–the only one of its kind, to use on my breakfast. Not in the spoon jar. Not in the sink. Not in the drawer. It is found in the dishwasher (dirty, obviously). Doesn’t the previous user realize that items like this can’t be left sitting around for a few days!? They need to be washed right away so someone else can use them! Such thoughts are countered by my rational side: Not everyone thinks like you. You’re an idiot. Just wash it off and go on with life.
Sandy came into the kitchen a few minutes later. She loaded the dishwasher with all the dirty plates from the sink. She then explains to me why the spatula remains in the sink, “The last few times it came out melty. I didn’t want that to happen again so I’m leaving it here.” Self: “oh, okay.” Why is she telling me this?
After she leaves I realize that she knows me all too well. Had she not said anything I would have walked over to the sink and wondered why all but 2 or 3 things were put into the the washer. Her discussion of the spatula caused my frustrated thoughts to become oh, look! Someone took the time to empty the sink.
I can hardly stand to live with myself. I don’t know how she does it.