I’d like to start out by saying that I like my new roommate, and I’m glad that we chose to live with him. He’s quiet, nice, funny, etc. I just want to get that out of the way before I say the following:
WHAT THE FUCK?
I got back Sunday night from a frisbee tournament in eastern Washington. Natch, because it was a long drive and travelling is a lot for a dog who is very much a proponent of her regular routine—eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop—I knocked 25 bucks off of Roomie’s rent in exchange for a little pet-sitting for the weekend. He had Chelsea for two nights and like one and a half days. No big deal, right?
Right. She’s still alive and well and from most accounts he took perfectly fine care of her. Except for one little thing.
Chelsea has a tendency to get stuck. She’s lost her ability to go in reverse, and as a result she wrangles herself into tight spots and cannot figure out how to free herself. Really, she shouldn’t be left home alone for very long and thanks to our collective schedules it hardly ever happens. But sometimes it’s unavoidable, so when we go out we’ve taken to dog-proofing the house as best as possible. We close doors, rearrange furniture and erect blockades, because if there is a crevasse left open, she will find it.
When she gets stuck, she gets upset. When she gets upset, she wails. It’s not a bark so much as a weepy, moaning cry—it’s the same sound she makes when I bathe her, and trust me, it’s awful, which is in part the reason she stinks so much. It’s hard to justify cleaning a dog when it sounds like pure torture.
Now, I don’t blame Roomie for forgetting to shut the bathroom door, because Lord knows I have, too. My neighbors, upon hearing Chelsea wailing, have had to crawl in through our window to free her at least four or five times over the past couple months. And even if he had remembered to close the door, there’s no guarantee that she wouldn’t have gotten stuck elsewhere. In fact, between the last two sentences I got up to use the bathroom and by the time I was done, Chelsea had already managed to get her head stuck in a bar stool. And I pee quickly.
So really the blame goes to me, for not making better arrangements, or for not finding someone who can be home with her as much as I usually am, or, even, for allowing her to live as long as she has. But I digress.
Because the thing that bothers me most about the whole scenario is not the fact that Chelsea got stuck between the toilet and the bathtub. Nope. It’s the fact that she did, and was clearly stuck there for longer than she has ever before, and that in the time that she was stuck there she got so worked up that she made a huge mess. HUGE. Somehow, she managed to get fur all over the toilet. And we’re not talking strands—we’re talking huge clumps of fur stuck to the back of the toilet, the sides, the seat, the lid, heck, even the top. I don’t know how on Earth this could have happened, but it did, and it was plain disgusting.
Disgusting because it is physical evidence of how much trauma she endured while being stuck. Disgusting because the toilet looked more like a Springer Spaniel when I got home that night than it did a bathroom fixture. Disgusting because after a four-hour drive, the last thing I wanted to do was spend fifteen minutes scraping dried fur off of the toilet seat.
“Um, Laura?” Asa called from the bathroom. “It looks like Chelsea made a bit of a mess in here.”
“What do you mean, mess? Did she poop?” I asked.
“Um, no, it’s just a mess. You’ll see.”
Roomie emerged from his cave. “Oh, yeah, I was wondering where that came from,” he said.
What is there to wonder about? You leave for work and the toilet is clean. You return home and it’s not. The only one who could’ve wiped clumps of fur all over it is, you guessed it, the dog that you happen to be taking care of. To be fair, a neighbor heard Chelsea wailing and climbed through the bathroom window to rescue her, and had called me to tell me about it but had not shared the news with Roomie. So Roomie had no idea that anything notable had occurred while he was out, but had evidently not been clued in by the telltale footprints in the tub underneath the window and matted fur adorning the toilet.
What’s worse, even, is that Roomie proceeded to use the toilet for 24 hours until I returned home and cleaned it off. Now maybe it’s just me and my germaphobic tendencies but I use two gauges to decide when it is time to clean the bathroom: odor and visible grossness. With three people sharing a tiny bathroom, and with two of them being men, no offense, the toilet needs fairly constant attention. If the bowl stinks, or if the seat looks dirty, I clean. Because I don’t like feeling like I’m using a Port-o-Potty when I’m in my own bathroom.
Evidently this is not the case for Roomie, who noticed the fur and yet made no effort to clean it off. I know I should’ve said something to him, and perhaps I still should, but the thing is this: it is particularly difficult for me to tell a grown man—if you consider 27 to be grown—to clean up after himself. I have trouble knocking on his door and telling him that, by the way, would you mind wiping off the kitchen counter when you’re done cooking? Would you mind not leaving your dishes in the sink for a week? Would mind not putting your muddy shoes on the toilet seat cover when you shower? Would you mind not leaving disposable razors all over the bathroom? Would you mind cleaning Chelsea’s fur off the toilet, considering that I paid you to watch her for the weekend?
I don’t want to nitpick, and thanks to effective birth control I am nobody’s mother. I don’t want to clean up after anyone just as much as I don’t want to scold anyone, but for the love of all things clean WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO RECOGNIZE A GROSS SITUATION AS SUCH AND THEN TAKE APPROPRIATE STEPS TO ALLEVIATE THE PROBLEM?
I am not, nor will I ever pretend to be, a tidy person. As I type, for instance, clothes are strewn on the floor around me. Two empty mugs sit on my desk, and piles of papers are gathered around the room. Meanwhile, in the living room, newspaper upon newspaper crowds the coffeetable, and Asa’s ever-growing pile of crap consumes a good portion of the floor near the couch. And, admittedly, the floor is way overdue for a mopping and I will hopefully get to that this week. So this is not a neat apartment and for that, I apologize to Roomie. But there are certain things that make me draw the line, and this, my friends, is one of them.
So, because I’m too chicken-shit to tell him myself, because I don’t want to be the ever-hovering, constantly-critical mother that hides within me, I will say it here and then just let it go:
SOMETIMES IT’S YOUR TURN TO CLEAN THE GODDAMN TOILET.
PS, Happy Halloween!