There is something about finally understanding something unpleasant about yourself because you see it reflected in the ones close to you among you. This is one of the times when I am most happy I don't tell too many people that I write a blog, because I wouldn't want anyone to recognize themselves, hem hem.
I live with two very strong-willed women in a small apartment dorm on campus. One thing I must say about living with people; if you haven't found something you don't like about them before you move in together, you certainly will before you move out.
Having come from a household that was generally quite tidy on a regular basis I am appalled to enter the kitchen and find food bits on the floor, lingering in the sink, dirty dishes on every counter surface available, and clean dishes lounging in the draining rack for days on end. Not to mention the lack of soap used while washing dishes. Growing up I was, shall we say, a passive-aggressive person. To be fair to those who know me well, I must say that in some respects I still am; though I do try to be lighter on the passive part. I wanted to take a few moments this evening to shed a little light on how obnoxious some of my traits must have been for those around me, and how I came to realize how annoying it is.
Here we go.
Garbage: Have you ever read the poem "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout"? No? Go read it. Because it described me as a child, and my roommates currently. The garbage piles completely out of the gigantic trashcan and stinks something awful while we walk past it every day on our way to classes. My roommates wish to be told every time I want them to take it out - as I asked in my childhood. Now, I understand that having to ask someone every time you want to ask a boon that they please help to keep a shared space clean is extremely frustrating.
Dishes: I brought a lot of pots and pans to the apartment when I moved in. Nice forks and knives, too. I offered to share them with my roommates, but asked them if they were going to use them, please put them back where they were when they were finished. Three days later is not "when they were finished. It was three days later. Nor is a drying rack storage space for dishes. It is unsightly and messy. After a few weeks of asking them to help clean, and where is my fork, I now hide the things I don't want them to use. I'm tired of hunting for them.
Cleaning: Please see "garbage" entry. A messy space is no fun. There, end of story, go eat a sandwich! If something is dirty, clean it up when you see it. Walking by something you know is dirty is rude and it doesn't make me want to clean it any more than you do.
Apologies: This is probably my favorite. As a teenager apologies were my big way of getting away with saying things I probably should never have uttered in the first place. Saying something mean, apologizing for it minute later, then going about your business without a care is a very disturbing way to have a conversation. If you're sorry about what you said, then you would not have said it in that tone four times in the last month. I'll believe you're sorry when you don't do it again. Ever.
Information: Something I have had the misfortune of suffering from a good deal of my life is the certainty that whatever information is jangling around in my head is always correct. Except maybe grammar (less versus fewer). Telling a person "no, you can't do that because (insert scientific fact/other source here)" is very unfriendly, and succeeds only in making the other person think you're a buggering idiot. If I'm telling you I'm going to pre-cook my garlic and spices in butter I don't need you telling me why chemically that isn't favorable. Just let me try it, please, and go back to cooking your own dinner. Thanks.
It's incredibly hard to hear how annoying you are as a child. It's even harder to hear them as an adult, because everyone's trying to be polite all the time. Yeech. As many times as I've heard how unpleasant my flaws are from my parents, sibling, and boyfriend, it's really hard to experience my flaws in other people and realize "Yep, that's really annoying. I don't think I'm ever going to do that again. Excuse me while I smile and nod vaguely."
Blech. I hate good manners.