Something about the huge mound of dishes that resulted from yesterday's eat-and-drink-o-rama otherwise known as Thanksgiving dinner reminded me of the following true event.
My third year in college, a couple of friends and I got together and rented an ancient wreck of a house just off of campus. The house had a lot of "problems" -- no air conditioning, a hole in the kitchen floor in front of the sink, the upstairs shower didn't work, the roof leaked by the front door when it rained, and so forth. But the rent was cheaper than the dorms, and you could actually have parties with alcohol at your own house (unlike in the dorms). But fourth year, one of the roomies moved out, and we needed to fill her spot.
An acquaintance of mine (a fellow Italian Club officer -- the treasurer, to be exact -- who later absconded with the Italian Club's money) recommended that we have her friend (let's call her "Nicole," since that was her name) move in. She said that Nicole was overseas in France at the time, would be returning from her "semester abroad" in June, and would need a house to live in the following year. Nicole agreed to move into the house, sight unseen. We agreed to live with this woman, sight unseen and without even speaking with her on the telephone. If this all sounds like a terribly bad idea well, you're right, it was.
Upon returning from France, Nicole came straight to the house -- without even calling to warn us first. No big deal, I guess. I mean, we had agreed to rent her the room, we had sent her the key, and the room was empty and waiting for her. Still, a phone call would have been nice... something like, "I'll be there tomorrow at 3 p.m., can't wait to meet you all in person" or something similarly civilized.
But no, Nicole simply showed up with all her stuff in the truck, walked in, and announced: "I'm here!" I was at work at the time; my housemates were watching something or other on tv. Porn, probably. Or maybe a Grateful Dead movie. Whatever it was, they were so engrossed in it that, after saying "hi" to Nicole and introducing themselves, they went right back to their tv show. They later reported that Nicole stood there for a couple of minutes, then said, with her hands on her hips, "Well, aren't you guys going to help me carry in my stuff?!?"
They reluctantly did so. Despite their best efforts to work slowly and their continual stopping to watch whatever was on tv, they still found that each of them seemed to carry in at least 2 boxes for every 1 that Nicole carried in. Yowza.
I guess I have good timing. I arrived home from work right after the housemates had finished piling all of Nicole's junk in her room.
At that point, Nicole asked me for the "tour." Mind you, there wasn't much to see. She had seen most of it just by walking through the living room and up the stairs to her bedroom. But I am an accommodating sort, so I helpfully gave her the "grand tour."
"Well, we're standing in the living room. The fireplace works. The roof leaks above the front door, so watch your step when you come in if it's raining. There's the dining room. The washer and dryer are in there, too (I know, it's odd to have the washer/dryer in the dining room, but it was the only room with the right kind of outlet). The kitchen is right through here...."
As she looked around the kitchen, Nicole asked, "Where's the dishwasher?"
I said, "Oh, we don't have one."
She then asked, in a surprised and innocent voice, "Well then, how do you get the dishes clean?"
(Whaa...? You've got to be kidding me!)
So, being the accommodating sort that I am, I introduced her to many difficult concepts such as hot soapy water in the sink, sponges, dish towels, and drying racks.
Apparently none of it sunk in. She did not wash a single dish all year long, even when she would invite her boyfriend over for dinner and they would cook and use many pots, pans, utensils, plates and glasses. (It looked a lot like my kitchen after Thanksgiving dinner last night.) Afterwards, they would go out to a movie, leaving the kitchen a wreck, then back to his place for two or three days of "nookie," by which time she could be sure that the rest of us would have broken down and washed the dishes, if only so that we could use them.