You do remember my quest to keep my staffroom kitchen clean, don’t you? The part where I’ve been tossing out cups that have been abandoned on the counters or tables, despite my nagging people to either put them in the dishwasher or wash them themselves?
Naturally, there is one person with whom I work who simply does not understand this concept. Most of my colleagues “kind of” get it but are unable to follow through. This one really doesn’t comprehend.
For instance, one morning, I watched her toss her teaspoon into the sink after she stirred her tea. Into the sink over which there are several signs reminding people to not do that very thing.
“Lena!” I called. “Why are you putting your teaspoon into the sink? It’s dirty!”
Lena looked at me. Like a cow. She shrugged.
“It’s not that dirty,” she replied diffidently.
“You used it! It’s dirty enough! Put it in the dishwasher!” I said, probably (no, certainly) more sharply than was really necessary at eight thirty in the morning.
She shrugged again. “Maybe someone else will use it.”
“Lena!” I sputtered. “No one is going to want to use your dirty teaspoon!”
Lena smiled and walked away. You see what I mean? The whole concept of putting stuff away properly is completely beyond her. She constantly leaves her damn teaspoons in the sink, her knife lying on the table after she’s cut up whatever she cuts up at lunch, her lunchbag either on the table or on the floor or on a chair, and the table is often all sticky and crummy wherever she sits to eat. The woman is, unfortunately, a pig. Her classroom is also very messy. I shudder to think what her home must look like.
Lena has a travel mug that she often uses. Not every day, but often enough that we all know it belongs to her. It’s red, with a black handle and a black lid. Like this one I found on Google Images. She leaves it all over the school. She left its black lid on top of the portable dishwasher for two weeks till I finally threw it out. I don’t think she missed it.
Most recently, Lena left her travel mug on the counter in front of the coffeemaker. She doesn’t drink coffee, only tea, so I don’t know why she put it there. But I left it, because I knew it was hers and she usually picks it up in a day or so.
This time she didn’t. I moved it, with a few other odds and ends that people had left around, over to the table in the corner. The table that is the first thing you see when you enter our staffroom. It stayed there, along with the other stuff for four days.
Then, last Wednesday, we had a special lunch, buffet style. The food was spread out over that table in the corner. Somebody (not me) put everything that had been on top of the table on the floor underneath it in order to make enough room for the food.
Last Thursday, I noticed that somebody had cleaned up the stuff that had been moved to the floor. Again, it wasn’t me. But apparently I have a secret ally who took pity on me and helped me out this one time.
Friday, Lena was on the warpath.
“Where is my travel mug?” she thundered.
I shrugged. “Last time I saw it, it was on the corner table. I guess it got moved when all the food for the lunch was put on the table.”
She accosted everyone who came in the staffroom, demanding if they knew where her travel mug was. Finally, she had to admit defeat.
“I’m going to have to write a note in the sign-in book,” she told me. “Somebody must know where my mug is.”
I could only shrug again. And giggle inside. Because for all my bravado and threats, her mug is gone, I didn’t do it and I don’t have a clue what happened to it!