On my first day at Lewis and Clark, I was so excited that my dorm had a kitchen–that is, until I saw the kitchen. When I first walked into it on that fateful August day three years ago, I deflated. I melted into a disappointed little puddle. It wasn’t just that it had the width of a bowling alley–no, I think what got me was the fact that it was completely and totally empty. I checked every cabinet, above and below. I looked in the fridge, the freezer. I checked the drawers. I just couldn’t quite believe that there was nothing in this kitchen.
There was nothing in that kitchen.
But not for long. Soon, there were dirty rice makers, salsa chunks and ramen noodles down the sink, dirty dishes casually strewn everywhere. Most people kept their dishes in the kitchen, but the extra available dishes hardly made up for the stealing, the inconsiderateness, the ever-renewing mess. I remember buying myself a little food with my small personal budget, only to find myself cleaning my own dishes that someone else had left dirty with my own damn food in the sink.
When I became an RA, I furiously determined that my kitchen nightmare would never happen again. “This kitchen is MY kitchen,” I muttered furiously. “It’s going to be a nice, functional hub of community, dammit!”
And it really was. Often I’d come home to the smell of spicy curry my residents made in big pots to share with each other, or plates of cookies, or home-cooked loaves of bread. It felt like home, it smelled like home, it tasted like home. But still, the sink was full of dirty dishes.