Thursday, October 21, 2010
Towels, or the Time I Was Kind of An Asshole
Artie's grossness and lack of consideration continued on to the point where I ceased calling him by his name and only called him Dity Artie, or the Garbage Man. He left dirty dishes all over the kitchen for weeks. He clipped his toenails in the living room while I was eating dinner. He slept on his bed without sheets for two solid weeks. The piles of garbage in his room remained steadfastly in place. Bills were never, ever, paid on-time.
For my part, I was having a pretty stressful year. I'd just started teaching high school, and was absolutely in over my head. My general craziness was part first year teacher syndrome, part the really difficult population I had no ability to deal with (18 year old ninth graders, functionally illiterate in Spanish and speaking no English), and part my incompetent, bullying, sexually inappropriate assistant principal. In the midst of all this work madness, which once made me cry so hard on the subway that a stranger offered me a kleenex, I would come home to a filthy apartment. I've mentioned before that I am absolutely not the cleanest person ever. If you came over to my house right now you might be a little grossed out, but the thing is that I live by myself. There's no one else here who might be bothered by the fact that my kitchen floor needs a good scrubbing, and I'm the only one to blame for the dirt in the bathroom sink. When you have roommates you have to consider that they might not want to be the only one who ever cleans a bathroom used by three people. We actually had a cleaning schedule when Brandon lived with us, but it had somehow been abandoned when Andrea moved in.
But I digress, I had a story to tell here. A story about cleaning, and towels, and the possibility that I'm the subject of someone else's jackass roommate story. I've mentioned before that we had an awesome roofdeck, perfect for parties. I decided to have a bunch of people over at the beginning of June, right when it really started to get warm, and also, not coincidentally, when both of my roommates were scheduled to be out of town. It just seemed easier to have a gaggle of friends running in and out to get beer and go to the bathroom without having to worry about what Andrea and Artie were up to.
An awesome view by day; even better at night.
Before the party I cleaned the entire apartment, since no one else ever did. There had been two gross, dirty, towels on the back of the door of our bathroom for at least six months. Since they hadn't moved, been changed or washed in that time period I assumed that they had belonged to Brandon the Bartender. Cleaning the bathroom for the party, I finally decided that I'd had enough of the gross towels and threw them away. Andrea and I both kept our towels in our rooms, and Artie had two on the towel rack. These back-of-the-door towels were actually stiff from God knows what (dirt? mold?) and I was embarrassed to have people over while they were hanging from (and frequently falling off of) the bathroom door.
Flash forward to the next day. Artie is home. He has noticed that the towels are missing. He is peeved because they were apparently his towels. A bit of a confrontation ensues:
Artie: I noticed that the towels from the bathroom were in the kitchen trash this morning.
Me: Oh yeah, I was trying to clean up for the party.
Artie: Well, the thing is that they were mine.
Me: Really? I thought they were Brandon's since they haven't moved from the back of the door in six months. I've been meaning to do something about them for a while, but finally got around to it yesterday.
Artie: No, actually they were mine.
Me: I'm sorry. Since they were so dirty, and stiff, and fell on the floor almost every time someone went in and out of the bathroom, I assumed they didn't belong to anyone.
Artie: Well, I'm not sure what I'm going to do now without those towels.
Me: Yeah, I'm sorry. I thought that those other towels hanging on the rack were yours. You know, I'm planning on washing my towels today, I'd be happy to throw yours in with mine, since I accidentally put them in the trash.
Artie: I don't think I really want to use them again since they've been in the kitchen trash can. It's a little gross. I guess I'll have to buy new ones.
Me: That's a shame. Let me know if you change your mind before I put my laundry in.
End Scene. So the man who lives in garbage, with piles of newspapers, clothes, and take-out cartons taking up half his bedroom is skeeved out by the fact that his towels, with six months of his body dirt on them, have been in the kitchen trash can? Is there something more offensive about the use of tide after a towel has been in with the coffee grinds and beer bottles than sleeping on your bed without sheets for weeks in a row? I guess on the surface one roommate throwing away another's towels IS an asshole thing to do, but considering the situation, does it make me a jackass that I only feel a little tiny bit guilty and am actually happy that he had to buy non-disgusting towels?