Monday, January 17, 2011

The Tomato Fiasco

When I was in the 7th grade I was soooo popular. I had myself convinced that everyone wanted to

a) be friends with me
b) “go out” with me or
c) be me.

I later found out that none of these things were true, in fact most of my 13 year old peers either didn’t know who I was or thought I was a great big jerk, which to be honest, I kind of was.

I only tell you this to set the scene, to illuminate for you the great social heights from which I thought I fell in the course of this unfortunate event, and just how detrimental to my imaginary social status it really was.

We, the “cool kids” (or so I thought) hung out in the back of the school during lunch. This is where the back door of the cafeteria can be found, and where the dumpsters that house all of the left over, rotten or undesirable food is kept. Why the self proclaimed “popular” crowd decided standing around smelly dumpsters in the closest thing to an ally for miles around is beyond me, but there we were.

The rest of the girls and I were clustered against the wall gossiping about the latest chick fight and discussing crushes. The group of boys we followed around, because lets be truthful the majority of 7th grade boys haven’t quite figured out girls are interesting yet, were playing very close to, in, and around the garbage’s. Once again, no idea why this was a “cool” activity.

One of these brilliant boys, Garrett I believe it was, found a stick. This stick was used to poke and prod a box of rotten tomatoes lying on the top of the overflowing dumpster. As the game continued, simply jabbing the spoiled fruit was not enough, they started to dig them out. The observation was made that if you punctured quickly enough you could skewer the tomato on the end of your stick and launch it into the air. This took the game to a new level.

As we watched the boys catapult rotten fruit at the houses across the fence we should have registered that the odds of this activity reaping benefits were slim to none, but we stood idle by nonetheless.
The game escalated once more.
The houses were a long distance target. The school, on the other hand, was a close range target. They could hone their target skills better on a closer target than on the far away homes. Tomato throwing at the school commenced.

I will take this moment to illustrate one of the three basic laws of physics.

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. In other words, what goes up

must come down.

And the tomato came down.

It came down right on my head.

Thank you Garrett.

I immediately ran into the bathroom to get the rotten fruit out of my hair. My friends didn’t even come into the bathroom to cry with me on what I literally considered to be the worst day of my life.

My crush saw me get pelted in the head and face splattered with spoiled tomato. Now he would never love me.

I stayed in the bathroom for the entire period after lunch. When I finally built up the courage to brave the hallways (which were empty since everyone was in class) and make it to the office to use the phone I was caught by the hall monitors and got a badge-d escort to the front desk. Conveniently that was where I was going anyway, but I now had to recite my embarrassing story to the entire office staff. I spared them no theatrics. I was allowed to borrow the office phone to call my mom.

I received no sympathy. Apparently tomato head was not a viable condition for missing valuable learning time. I was skipping P.E.

I had already gotten almost all of the tomato chunkage out of my hair, but fragments were lodged in my twisties that I couldn’t undo without ruining my hair-do. The smell, unfortunately, didn’t dissipate with the tomato morsels. I had to endure all of sixth hour and the hour bus ride home smelling like dumpster fruit.

After that day my popularity dwindled until I was geek enough to join the debate team in high school and only date boys from other schools.

And that is how Garrett and a tomato ruined my high school career.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dish Nazi

Part of growing up and becoming a responsible adult is moving out of your parent's house and learning to cohabitate with people you're not biologically programmed to love. 
Living away from your mother means the constant nagging to clean your room, wake up on time and eat your peas is no longer present... for some people this is the perfect chance to grow some responsibility and learn to do those things on your own. For others it's a free pass to no longer clean anything, sleep until noon and adopt a diet of pizza, Mt. dew and ramen. While I am guilty of indulging in the occasional sleeping binge and literally ate leftover birthday cake for lunch a majority of the month of December, I am proud to say that I have mastered at least one of the skills our mothers hope we acquire in college. 

I know how to clean.

If you were to look into my bedroom right now, you might not believe me since I have a chair-full of discarded shirts at the moment... but they're all clean, I just decided to write this post instead of hang them back up after deciding what to wear last night. 

You will not find, however, any of my clothing in the communal areas of my apartment. Nor will you find any of my food sitting out on the counter, rings on the coffee table from any of my cups or my shoes littering the front door. I have discovered the important distinction between private and public domain. You can make a mess and clean it at your leisure in your own room, on your bed and in your own car. You cannot turn the front room into a collect-all for your gear and pick it up weeks later when you "feel like it", nor can you make a five course meal and leave the dishes in the sink until you need those particular pans again. Doing your dishes is NECESSARY if you intend on keeping non-hostile roommates. 

Especially if you live with me. 

I am the dish nazi. 

If you have had the unfortunate experience of living with me, you probably know this. The only roommate who would argue with this assessment is Elise, and that's only because she's so much more OCD about cleaning than I am that I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up in a mental institution wearing gloves and sanitizing the walls later in life. 

Anyway, I always do my dishes. Right when I'm done using them they go in the dish washer. If the dishwasher is full, I do them by hand. I do not leave dirty dishes in the sink. I do dishes at other people's homes. 

Dish Nazi. 

Reasons to do the dishes: 

1) If people come over, they think you're super gross. 
2) Leftover food rots, which is malodorous. 
3) Three day old caked on food is much harder to get off than fresh food. 
4) Rodents
5) Ants and other creepy things that crawl
6)  Mildew scent starts to permeate the entire house, soon you're the smelly unit and your neighbors hate you. 
7) Bacteria. 
8) You shouldn't need 8 freakin reasons to do your dishes, if you don't do them, you are kind of nasty. 

If I happen to find a big pile of someone else's dishes, I will usually just do them. 

If a few days later I happen find another pile, I will do them again.... 

By the third or fourth pile within a short amount of time I start to get angry. 

It is not difficult to do dishes, it's a rather simple chore, especially if you have a dishwasher.  If you have time to make scrambled eggs every morning you should have time to rinse out the pan and throw it in the dishwasher. 

If you are one of the dirty dish collection contributors please stop pretending that you are:

A) letting them "soak" for three days 
B) Saving all seven of those cups for later
C) Conserving water 
D) Conserving dish-soap
E) Saving them so you have something to do later. 

Just do your dang dishes. 

There is almost always at least one culprit per roommate infested dwelling who refuses to learn the dishwashing art. Since I've moved five times in the last three years and had five separate sets of roommates, i've come up with an enforcement program for the non-dish-doers. 

To encourage dish-doing, drop subtle hints about the state of the sink in overly-loud conversations. Make sure you're close enough that they can hear you. 

If they haven't gotten the hint after measure numero uno, I leave a nice note. I make sure to include lots of smileys and x's and o's so everyone stays happy. 

Within a day of writing this sweet note the dishes are almost always done, Mission accomplished.  

Wrong. A dish leaver will continue to leave dishes until you break them of the habit. Subsequent notes are always warranted. The second should still be nice, maybe try an appeal to humor. 
If he/she still hasn't found the dishwasher after the second nice note is left, harsher measures are called for. I then break out the blunt note. There are not smilies or graphics in this note, but I make sure to at least add thanks or something to the bottom to avoid a roommate blowout.  


This almost always works. 

ALMOST always. 

If after the mean note I still end up loading the dishwasher with other people's dishes, I have to resort to an all out dish strike. This is not an easy feat for me. I think about the undone dishes all day long. 

At the end of one particular dish strike I had a mental breakdown. 
Alison had left her vegan pancake party dishes in the sink for a full 2 weeks, despite my progression of notes. They were horrid looking and smelling when she made them since they lacked eggs, milk, and anything else normal humans recognize as food, but after two weeks they were beyond rank. 

It was time for drastic measures. I readied the fifth note. 

And placed it with her smelly, syrup soaked dishes... 
.... on her unmade hemp-sheets. 

Oh, and since we, the dish police of 465 North, owned all of the dishes in use, we took the liberty of removing them from the kitchen. 
We relocated every pot, pan, plate and utensil to our rooms in the basement and held them hostage until the rest of the house solemnly swore to do their dishes. 

We got our own mean note back from Alison but from then on she did her dishes
.... and we took to drawing faces on all of the meat we kept in the fridge. 
... She moved out shortly thereafter... 

Moral of the story: Don't be a gross-o. Do your dishes or someone might accidentally get stale syrup and vegan pancakes on your bed. 

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