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. 


  1. apartment #1 always did their dishes because they were the BEST roommates :)oh how i miss the days where the dishes were done, i need you to come whip my new and young roommies into order! A.S.A.P.
    love you!

  2. LOVE this! I am constantly doing other people's dishes and then bitching about it b/c I'm too passive aggressive to do anything else, haha.

    I found you on 20-something-bloggers...your drawings are cracking me up! Love it!

  3. <3 love this post !!! i can relate to this ... awsome


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