As I was dozing off around 11 p.m. last night, I heard some commotion in the kitchen below me. Since there were no sounds of imminent mayhem, I let it go and didn’t think too much about it.
This morning I find out that someone in the house made themselves a bowl of cereal and left spilled milk all over the counter. The next person who came in to fix a late supper found it and had to clean up the mess which had by this time reached the floor around the counter. It’ not hard to figure out that she was rightfully annoyed by this, as such neglect had been discussed at the house meeting on April 15th. Not know who the culprit was, she left a note on the hall bulletin board.
That triggered another house member (who tends to take Everything as aimed at her as a slight or an attack) to write a long diatribe about the first person not signing/dating their note and attacking other members of the house. Her note began “If this is directed at me, I …” and rambled through a number of defensive things as though the first note had been directed exclusively at her.
That’s only a small part of the picture. This is a rooming house of supposed adults ranging in age from early 20’s to mid-60’s. Everyone who lives here is theoretically able-bodied and capable of taking care of themselves when it comes to cooking, cleaning up and the like. We are all working stiffs or students with outside responsibilities and lives for the most part. A couple of house members do not work because of various health issues but those issues do not prevent them from handling basic care issues.
Everyone is supposed to pitch in with chores around the house — from putting away dishes each evening to cleaning bathrooms (3) and taking out recyclables. It is part of the rent we pay for living here.
At times, though, it seems as if people forget that simple fact. Dish nights get ‘forgotten’ until someone else takes care of the pileup. People ‘forget’ their chore and get upset when someone reminds them that they agreed to do that when they moved in.
And short of beating them about the head and shoulders with a clue-by-four I am running out of ideas to encourage people to do their part to be part of the community that is this house.
You see, as the designated House Manager, it is my job to keep this ship sailing smoothly and at the moment, we are veering away from the course that was set when the owner bought the place and started ‘collecting people to help pay for it.’