Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little obsessions can get the best of you

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

It's interesting how little obsessions get the best of us. I don't consider myself terribly obsessive about much, but I think the girls at the office would beg to differ. You see, I've crowned myself King Brian I, Emperor of the Office Dishwasher.

Like any monarch, it was not a position I sought. It was more or less something to which I appear to have ascended after originally proclaiming myself Chief of the Dishwasher Police when I first started working for the company I'm with now. It was a few years ago, and a few people who have since left for other jobs (actually, I had them beheaded -- don't tell anyone!) used to store their forks and sharp knives pointing up.

This, of course, would cause the person putting the dishes away after they were washed (which was sometimes me) to stab themselves if they weren't super duper careful. Most of the time, I'm super careful, but I don't always remember to be super duper careful... emphasis on "duper."

To make a point, I should have bought a plastic knife covered in fake blood from a novelty shop and stuck it to my head and run around the office screaming like I'd been stabbed in the head because of someone else's careless dishwasher-loading skills, but then I would have to explain why I was unloading the dishwasher with my head.

So anyway, like I said, I've been officially declared Emperor of the Office Dishwasher (I have the self-written declaration on a napkin to prove it), so that means I must do the final inspection before the office dishwasher is turned on -- and I don't mean in a perverted way. Well, that would require my inspection, too, but that's an entirely different episode of Oprah, so to speak.

The thing is, the young ladies at the office haven't yet learned how to properly load a dishwasher. Dishes are tossed in willy-nilly. Knives and forks are sometimes still placed in the cutlery bin sticking up. Despite many office debates on how the cutlery supposedly needs to be sticking up so it'll get cleaned properly, King Brian has yet to find any evidence supporting that. People are still looking for the co-worker who replaced the toilet paper roll the wrong way a few months ago. I've killed once. I'll kill again. It just gets easier the more you do it.

Now, because I usually don't unload the dishwasher at work, I've tried to justify my obsession with the girls by telling them that my pickiness actually ends up making it easier for the person unloading the dishwasher. Large dishes in one row. Small dishes in another row. Bowls in another row. When you unload, you just scoop 'em all up at once and put them away. No need to take them out one-by-one because they're all over the place in the dishwasher.

I just hope they don't figure out that I don't have a dishwasher at home and that I'm actually dying of jealousy that we have one at work. That's why I've fallen in love with the one at work. And I just know that, one of these days, I'm going to forget to wipe the lipstick stains from the goodnight kisses off its door before I leave the office.

All kidding aside, the girls at the office tell me that it must be a "man" thing. One of them says she's not allowed to touch the dishwasher at home, either. Her boyfriend does all that stuff, making sure it's properly organized and that everything in its place before it's started. She's not dumb. She's trained him well -- and now she's trained me well, too! Just throw things in the dishwasher with no rhyme or reason and you're bound to frustrate someone in the home or office into doing it for you.

And don't get me started on the garbage. Actually, the garbage at work is easy since we don't have to separate the garbage there yet. Hopefully, we will one of these days, but right now everything is like in the "bad old days" when everything went in the same bag. I'm so used to sorting my garbage into wet/dry bags at home that it drives me nuts to throw everything in the same bag at work. Hopefully one day . . .

Regardless, when it's garbage night at home, I end being like the Tasmanian Devil in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. I fly through the house throwing out everything that isn't nailed down. Newspaper or magazine only half read? Tough! Out ya go!

Heck, I've even found myself putting a mirror under the nose of a sleeping cat to make sure they aren't ready for recycling just yet. Luckily for them, they always leave some fog on the mirror. One of these days, though... one of these days.

It's the refrigerator that particularly obsesses me on garbage night. I open the door and peer in looking for anything and everything that can be tossed. I scan the expiration dates of every salad dressing, package of cheese and other things. Produce is checked carefully. Any tinge of brown or lack of freshness means a trip to the wet bag. Leftover ham or chicken still on the bone gets pared down to nothing as I save the meat and toss the bones into the wet bag.

I don't know what it is about the garbage. Maybe it's something from my childhood that has me so obsessed about it. One pack rat friend of mine was told by a mutual psychiatrist friend that he likely didn't want to throw anything out because his mother changed his diaper too often when he was a baby.

I think he was joking, but maybe he wasn't. Maybe in my case, it wasn't changed enough and I can't wait to get rid of things. That should make for interesting conversation around the dinner table at the next family gathering, eh? Something tells me that I'd better get used to spending the holidays alone from now on.

1 comment:

Sarah Butland said...



My husband is obsessed with the properly loaded dishwasher but it is still my task to do it. I'm homg anyway, I don't mind and I do mind the scattering of dirty dishes everywhere when it's not unloaded.

As for the garbage -I'm with you, Brian. It's like there isn't going to be a garbage pick up ever again when it's garbage night at my house. When I'm lazy and down go downstairs to get the garbage it annoys me all week!