Thursday, April 13, 2006

Your mother works neither here nor there

I am, at best, an indifferent housekeeper. It's not Whitney Houston's bathroom or anything, but a) I have two cats who shed so copiously, I can't understand how they have anything left to hork up in hairball form in the laundry basket, and b) I suffer from, and am aided and abetted by all friends in, an addiction to the written word. I dust, I tidy a little...and then the piles of books and magazines and newspapers begin creeping across every flat surface again, like plate techtonics.

I do have a healthy degree of respect for shared public space, however. I've long puzzled over the kitchen messes at NerdCo; not a day goes by when the countertop isn't littered with half-finished beverages, blops of unidentified casseroles, milk souring in the carton 26 inches from the refrigerator. People pour god-knows-what into the sinks, which have no disposals; they mark their path with damp wads of paper towel, like the hatch-marked trail of Little Billy in Family Circus. We had a popcorn machine on this floor that I am sure had not been cleaned in a decade, its glass walls opaque with an electric-yellow film of Butter Flavoring. (One of the writers at last took it upon himself to disassemble and scour the works, with mixed results: some of the crud was baked on there like space-shuttle tiles, plus the machine was...rather harder to put back together than he'd anticipated. Whoops, no more popcorn, kiddies!)

I'd made the default, sexist assumption that most of this kitchen slobbery could be blamed on boys. There are so many of them at NerdCo, vastly outnumbering the fairer sex, wandering around with their Mountain Dew and their foosball and their Y-chromosomes.

However. Through Fat Club, I've been spending a large percentage of my time at the gym, and a good segment of that in the women's locker room (not quite as Alyssa depicts it, though God I laughed), and I have to say: Ladies, YOU ARE PIGS.

Seriously, chicks, what is up with that? It's crowded, we're all in a hurry, I get that...but how hard is it really to pick up your towels and your water bottles and your 87 ponytail bands before scurrying off to the rest of your day? If you accidentally squirt lotion across the dressing area, or crumble a cake of pink eyeshadow onto the counter, take two seconds to WIPE THAT SHIT UP. Perhaps with one of your many many towels? The ones that you do not seem to be using in the shower stalls, considering that some days I have to wade across the tiles? How do you even GET the surrounding area that wet, outside the shower? What kind of sprinkler attachment are you dancing around with in there?

(Side complaint about towels: I don't have a problem with the periodic nakedness in the locker room. People dress and bathe there, both tasks that are easier to start from the default clothes-free condition. But on the other hand, enough with the Nudes On Parade routine for a few of you. I read Our Bodies, Ourselves, I too am proud of my womanness, but this isn't a runway. Wrap it up.)

I think that, in either locale, it's that root sense of entitlement that bothers me most. Do you wander around your home, a trail of sodden terrycloth and assorted garbage in your wake? Surely not. Just because there are people whose job it is to clean, to collect the towels and take out the shouldn't extrapolate that to mean that said people are your Personal Filth Assistants, you know? I seriously don't understand someone who can drop their crap on the floor and walk away, secure in the faith that "someone" will pick it up. It's no excuse to trash the place.

The gym features weird giant ceramic urns as both its trash cans and towel bins; they are similar, but different. The other day a woman marched right up beside me and flung her towel into the trash by mistake. "Oh, no," she said, and we laughed.

"I hate it when that happens," I said.

"I know!" she said. Then...she left.

This is why the gym costs a million dollars, folks. I wrapped my own towel around my hand (because surely that is antibiotically protective, yes?), dug her towel out of the trash, and deposited them both in the correct giant ceramic urn. Had I not, that little karmic wrinkle would have bothered me ALLLLL DAY.

Must be easy, to be some other people.

I suppose it could always be worse. A friend's mother was famously forgetful, twice accidentally leaving her prosthetic breast at the pool. (She had another, for day use; I guess this was a regulation swim boob.) That would be a fun one to retrieve from the Lost-And-Found bin, no?


Alyssa said...

Once I posted a note in the ladies bathroom at an office I worked at years ago: Please be nice and flush twice.


I'm consideriing a similar note for the kitchen:
Is your mom coming today? Because I'm not cleaning up after you.

Anonymous said...

You should see the garbage mess at the high school faculty room. We think the kids leave a mess??? I have never seen such filth! Remember the note in the staff bulletin expressing anger that someone had stolen a certain soup bowl??? Yeah! That was the week I had clean up duty in the staff room. I just loved throwing that encrusted bowl half full of some cream soup that had been left over the weekend!!! It was even more fun to find out who had actually left it among many other piles of shit in the sink! What looks and smells like garbage goes in the garbage folks!M.