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The Kitchen Party is Over: An Anecdote from the Home Front

When I was a child my mom would delegate dishwashing duty to my brother, my sister or me. This was followed by much intra-sibling squabbling, sometimes tears, sometimes emotionally-charged threats. Once it became obvious that our attempts at diversion were not going to get us out of doing the dishes, we did them in as dramatic and exasperated a manner as possible. There was a lot of loud sighing, many accusations of child abuse, and speeches declaring the obvious violation of our basic human rights. Now that I’m “grown-up”(I use this term loosely), I do all the dishes. Because they are now all my dishes. And because otherwise I would be eating only microwave meals with my hands, directly off of the table. I even make dishes somewhat enjoyable by propping my radio beside the sink and singing along. All of a sudden doing dishes is an exhilarating and dangerous game will I get electrocuted? Can the neighbours hear me sing?

Doing dishes at the office is not nearly as fun. It has a special place in the middle of these wild tales in dishwashing. It’s more comparable to having roommates, where you can’t throw a temper tantrum like a 5-year-old because you’re supposed to be mature and professional office-worker-people, nor can you turn it into a thrilling Russian-roulette-type adventure because you’re supposed to be mature and professional office-worker-people. So you do something inbetween, you compromise and find a middle ground amongst the dirty stares and dirty plates, because that is the way of office-worker-people. We need a system, a plan, otherwise our productivity will be suffocated by filthy teacups!

Now, our office is a shared space and so is the kitchen. Like roommates, there is always one who can’t seem to clean up after themselves. Fingers are pointed, judgements are made, denial abounds. But instead of behaving like children we complain quieter. I’m not the only one who makes this connection; we were donned just this week with the official seal of disapproval: your mom came by and didn’t like what she saw:

So we tried to make a schedule detailing’s valiant effort towards keeping the kitchen clean; this way our signatures beside our names (mall bathroom style) would show we were doing our part. Our schedule didn’t live much longer than 2 hours before it disappeared and inexplicably reappeared by the end of the day. So what are we to do? Soon the kitchen drama will affect worker morale… soon we won’t be able to take our food upstairs to our rooms because that brings bugs and crumbs and mess… wait, that was a different flashback. Maybe we should give “cleaning up after ourselves” another go? Or spy cameras.

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