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By Dillon O’Toole 

As I sit here at my desk procrastinating my various assignments due tomorrow (who needs sleep anyway?), I wonder how I got to the point of actually writing this article. My initial plan for this issue was to rework an article I was writing about some video games (you know, the usual fare from me). Depending on how much time I end up having this week (and also how much content we get for this issue), you may end up reading that reworked article at some other point in this very same issue. I felt this needed some sort of preamble to the actual content of the article, so here we are in this paragraph. Anyway, let’s move on to the actual introduction.

I would never label myself as either organized nor a clean-freak. In fact, I would say that I’d benefit from having better cleaning habits of my own spaces, but the cleanliness of one’s private spaces is not the point of this article. Instead, I want to focus on how one treats common spaces, especially for those living together. Perhaps it’s due to me being a former boy scout, but I have trouble leaving areas in a worse condition than I found them in. Whether in nature or civilization, I often find myself trying to help others clean up. Hell, I’ve even offered to help clean up after a party while I was completely wasted. The point of this is that I think spaces shared between or by other people should be held to a higher standard of cleanliness than one’s own personal spaces.  

This brings me to my apartment, one that I share with several roommates. My apartment consists of bedrooms, and a shared kitchen/living room area. I don’t care how my roommates live in their own bedrooms, it isn’t my problem. I do care, however, about how we live in our shared space. Now, I won’t name names in this piece because that isn’t right, but one of my three roommates is really shitty at cleaning up after themselves (I also will referring to them in a gender neutral way, so all of you people who think it is funny to say “oh they/them isn’t a real pronoun” can go fuck youself because you are not only hateful and unfunny,  but you’re also stupid).  This roommate in particular leaves the kitchen in great disarray: they don’t clean the stove after using it (and they somehow manage to get egg over ever fucking piece of it and then leave it there to dry); they leave their dishes unrinsed (this is the part that really pisses me off) in a pile in the sink for days at a time despite us having a dishwasher (there is a pile in the sink right now as I type this); and they don’t clean the dishtowels after using them (it’s even worse since they are mine to begin with). This complete disrespect of our common area gets my blood boiling faster than anything else in my life. I can’t even drink the anger away because if I leave my bottle opener on the counter they will somehow make it sticky with whatever random shit they cook.  

So, you may find yourself asking, “Dillon, why don’t you just talk to them about this problem? Words would surely solve this issue.” To you I can only say that I have talked to them, which did work briefly i.e. they stopped leaving the dishes in the sink for about a week (as far as I am aware they still have never cleaned the dish towels themselves despite me asking), but then they went right back to not cleaning the dishes for several days at a time (I’m going to ignore their inability to clean properly as well, since I will routinely find utensils that were “cleaned” that still blatantly have smudges or food on them). I also just tried doing all the dishes myself, but to be honest with you I really don’t want to wash the dishes both before and after I want to use them. As a result of them failing to comply with my simple demand of cleaning up after themselves, I just don’t use my own dishes or kitchen. Instead, I use plastic utensils which I  know are clean (I would use real ones but, like I said, the sink is so full of dirty dishes that it makes it hard to clean them). I’m really glad I never have to live with this person again following the conclusion of the spring semester, although I do feel bad for whoever they will inevitably end up rooming with after this year.

So, what can you, the good reader, take away from this? Make sure you clean your common areas, it’s good roommate etiquette. If something or someone starts to become a problem, stamp down on it immediately. Learn from me, I was too complacent and too compliant for far too long.  If you don’t want to gamble dealing with a problem like this, it’s probably best to live by yourself. Now, I need to see if I can make it until graduation without snapping or yelling at them for a few hours straight.  

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