My apartment is a dump.
It didn’t always use to be this way; in fact it has a lot of potential to not be like this. One Thanksgiving break when I was marooned by myself in my apartment, the place was spotless, there were no dishes in the sink, the counters were clean, and the floor was swept. It smelled nice. This time though, I’m not that lucky.
I came home last night to find my roommate in his parking spot on the couch, feeding his face and adding to the mess in the kitchen and living room. While the TV blared ESPN (the only station that my roommates watch) I went to the kitchen to think about a snack. Wrappers of tortilla packages, empty Top Ramen packets, dirt and crumbs of all kinds chips and bread, and salsa stains littered the floor. The counters weren't any better; no less than five cans of Welch’s grape soda stood empty-- two of which were tipped over and lying in a dried puddle of its contents. These framed the open package of chicken breast, raw meat glistening in the fluorescent light, sitting prominently on the island counter. Four used plates with its accompanying unwashed utensils sat next to three bowls, its remnants of milk and cereal long dried and crusty. As though to indicate that breakfast had been eaten here, bags of Coco-Roos, Tootie-Fruities, and Marshmallow Mateys leaned against the sterile white cinder blocked wall. Their contents too were spilled on the counter.
That’s just the counter. You can probably imagine what’s in the sink. I think about cleaning, but it's too much. It's not my mess. It's not my problem.
I used to try to fight a one man war against messy kitchens because my wise mother once told me the places that have to be the cleanest in the house were the kitchen and the bathroom. Your house should be a haven to you right? It should be a place of comfort and peace, so I would patiently wash the dishes, and put them away, trying desperately to create some cleanliness, only to come back twenty minutes later and find two or three pots in the sink, uneaten macaroni and cheese floating in them, and a mountain of plates all waiting to be washed, every time I cleaned. Gradually this wore me out, my protests would always fall on deaf ears, and apathy set in.
I think the earliest this came was on my mission, when our apartment was so dirty that I started throwing empty wrappers and letting crumbs fall on the floor beside the trash can (not in) just to see if I could make it dirty enough for the other missionaries to wake up and smell the rotting trash. It didn’t work. We had ants instead. But it didn't matter to me then either, I was going home. It wasn't my problem.
I sometimes feel bad about my apathy, thinking "I should be more charitable and do service". Then apathy rears its head and says "No, you didn't make the mess. Just wash your own dishes and you'll be fine." I usually listen to my apathy. I don't care enough to help clean up the spilled Welch's grape soda. It's not my mess. It's not my problem.
This apathy is becoming a problem. The other night our toilet got clogged and started to flood the apartment. Toileted water floated across the vanity floor and into our living room, drenching the carpet. It dripped its way through the cracks in the caulking and down into Dan's apartment downstairs. I heard it tripped the circuit breaker (Sorry Dan but it really wasn't my fault, or at least I wasn't directly involved). I watched my roommates plunge madly away at the toilet, desperately turn off the water to the commode, and I heard their shocked tones when they discovered that the toilet was somehow vomiting more toileted water across the floor despite their efforts. I offered sympathetic comments about how much this "sucked".