For nine months I have been living in a hostel-style beach house with a half-dozen other women, and by now I have a pretty good idea of what to expect when I come home. Abandoned glasses of water and half-full bottles of nail polish remover will occupy the coffee table, Havaiana flip-flops and empty Wendy’s bags flood the living room floor and at least one person will be cuddled up on the couch covered by an old comforter or photo quilt.
After sitting and participating in some casual chitchat, I usually use the restroom. Considering colorful piles of bath towels and gym clothes clutter this space and a translucent veil of mineral powder constantly covers the counters, this area should really not be associated with the word “rest.”
The kitchen is a whole other story. Of course the sink is usually full of dishes, the trash is full of boxes and, depending on the time of day, the room is occupied by a number of hungry or thirsty people. Once I claim a spot to cook, the real challenge begins. If I’m in the mood for, say, a veggie wrap, I must tactically dig through our refrigerator past bags of lettuce and tubs of hummus to locate my tortillas and salad fixings. We have attempted to designate separate food shelves, but after about a month, everything kind of meshes together in more ways than one.
After washing a cutting board and a few knives, I can attempt to make a meal in the most sanitary way possible. After eating and chatting some more, I often retire to the nook I call my bedroom, which I must admit can be the messiest area in the house. In this corner of sloppy solitude, I hang up clothes at least once a week and sometimes even sweep up the sand that has collected on my hardwood floor.
Yes, this environment is a disaster, but like the 311 song, it’s a beautiful one. Some may ask why or how we live like this and honestly, there are too many reasons to list. For one, despite the mess, a loose cleaning code has been developed in our cluttered compound. If someone has a minute between work and school they will unload the dishwasher. This simple action usually prompts someone else with a second to spare to reload the machine or even take out the trash. Every so often one of us even cracks and goes to town with a mop and some all-purpose cleaner.
Although it is only a matter of hours before a collection of pans are piled in the sink and an In-N-Out cup makes a wet ring on the
coffee table, the house is beautiful for a good half of the day.
In a house full of girls, certain things are always available. Although we may not constantly be stocked with coffee filters and paper towels, we have an endless supply of clothing, hair products and accessories. Despite the fact someone is always on the hunt for their dress or bracelet, or annoyed their hairspray is gone, we all participate in this never-ending exchange of items, because deep down we believe it’s beneficial and for the most part things are returned to their rightful closet.
Finally and most importantly, we exchange more than just material items and cleaning tasks. We exchange stories, music, glasses of wine, laughter and more. Our space might be a little disorganized, but we like it that way. There is always someone there to watch a movie, share a dinner or take a beach bike ride with. Advantages such as these are what make the chaos tolerable. Of course it would be nice if we could schedule a house gathering for purposes other than partying or if we could come up with a more stable cleaning schedule, but we all realize we are equally preoccupied with school, work and life. So, rather than complain about each other and our lack of cleanliness, we share a few chores, a few laughs, a few glasses of wine and we appreciate what each person brings to the coffee table.
-Sydnee Brooker is a journalism and media studies senior.
-This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.