Every person with whom I have ever lived had a particular and distinct opinion about what to do with the remains of the used coffee and tea leaves. One that could be nothing but obvious and all the others completely contrary to plain common sense. As I never get this right by instinct, I always end up getting a lecture and being treated as some scatter-brain. Well, I might know nothing about domestic chores, but I am pretty sure that a good example of common sense is to consider that our opinions and preferences are not absolute truths. Especially those related to trash – it’s trash, for God’s sake, which by its very definition is worthless, useless. This is why we are supposed to throw it away, not give lectures about it. Throw. It. Away. Hence, I would usually reply, as lightheartedly as I possibly could: “Oh, my bad! I didn’t know that’s how you prefer to do it! It’s all good. Fine by me!” That’s it. The bomb has been planted. And the war declared. Forget about the Queen, God please save me. “It’s not that I prefer! This is just how you’re supposed to do it! Everybody knows that! How can you not know it?”. Which would usually follow me being yelled at for hours because, apparently, common sense is something that the more you shout, the more you have of it.
Talking about trash bins, one of my former roommates had four types of trash bins – and not for recycling purposes – it wasn’t available in our neighborhood. She created her own system, just to feel better about herself, I suppose, combining Feng Shui with her own thing. “How can you not know that it’s wrong to mix wet trash with dry trash?! Oh my God, don’t you wash your trash first?” And she would keep going: “And what about the environment?”. Long story short, I spent two years of my life being obliged to religiously separate wet trash from the dry trash among other (no pun intended) rubbish I had to listen to, only to see the garbage man throw it into his truck and grind everything together. I tried to reason with her, “Ok, the environment matters, yadda yadda yadda, but this is downright useless.” Bad call. She got angrier. And, of course, I would always forget about the trash rules sporadically and was often unsure about the wet/dry status of a particular item of trash. On top of that, whenever I forgot about something, she would accuse me of doing it on purpose, only to provoke her. That’s absurd. Even if I were a very petty human being, in order to do that I would have to memorize the four trash rules only to civil disobey her. Which I would love to, but my memory fails me.
Wherefore, I’ve always felt as if the other woman were trying to show me that her housework techniques were better than mine. This, I believe, has to do with how we women are traditionally raised, an education that makes us take housework way too seriously, practically linking our worth and character with how clean our house is, while completely exonerating men from any housework duty. We care too much, they don’t care enough. A real pain in the ass to everybody. Which is bad since, as a woman, I appreciate being around my sisterhood, and would love to share my house again with other women in the future. On the other hand, it’s excruciating to live like that and not okay to ridicule people for their housework inabilities – if that’s really the case here – or to mother people around – men or women. Until we’re still trying to change the world, my personal policy: I don’t mother anyone, please don’t mother me. As for my real mother, there are only two ways of doing housework to her: the correct way, and how I do it. However, as they say: you’ve only got one mother.