As I was doing the dishes the other day, one of my roommates walked in and tried to stop me. “Are you doing other people’s dishes?” she asked with indignation.
Guilty as charged, I smiled and said that it was no big deal, most of them were mine anyway. It’s moments like these that the people-pleaser in me crashes into itself, like a calculator trying to divide by zero. Should I stop doing the dishes? Do I finish what I started? I know, I’ll just leave the cups.
So that’s what I did. I did most of the dishes, leaving the cups. Though it seems like a completely asinine solution, I could feel satisfied with what I accomplished, while not making my roommate feel as if I was trying to guilt her into doing dishes too.
But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with myself, the self that decided to do the dishes in the first place, not the self who left the cups. Doing just the dishes that I make dirty is counter to everything I have ever learned about what it means to be a human being among other human beings.
I do dishes, but there are other things I don’t do. For example, when I do, I clean bathrooms very poorly. Also, I don’t throw things out. I am terrible at parting with trash, because I might be able to use it some day. And I know other people who are really good at those things. When I do the dishes and you clean the bathroom, everyone is happier and things are cleaner.
Besides, doing half a sink of dishes is inefficient. We are in a drought and a recession!
So, for the sake of effieciency and humanity, where everyone brings their strengths to the table, and as long as I am able and willing, I will continue to do the dishes, all of the dishes, not just my own.