My desk is a random mess. From where I am now, I can reach bananas, nuts, a magnetic poetry kit, creams, chocolate, bits of hardware, bread, books, two computers, chewing gum and so forth. I don’t mind my own mess. I know underneath all this the table is clean. I know I can eat the fruits cos they’re washed. It’s messy but clean.
But I live with 5 other people, and they have various degrees of awareness of personal hygiene, I would say ranging from 0 to 10, all shades. I used to go mad after a hard days work, getting home to find food crumbles all over every surface, dishes to be washed, and the remains of pasta glued to the stove, so pretty. Yes, the house changed. It’s our “new” housemate. Now I use this auspicious situation as an opportunity to practice my compassion, something I have very little most of the time.
Everything was going fine, and slowly I started to feel compassion was a constant companion. Yes, the old problems were too little. Who cares if the kitchen is filthy, innit? At least I have a nice kitchen... right...
Easy said than done, and much easier said after two long holidays. I arrive from Brazil and my “new” housemate is eating pasta in the kitchen. We smile and talk about our holidays briefly while I gather some food to take upstairs. He finishes eating, cleans his mouth on the kitchen towel we use to dry dishes and hangs it on the chair. I stare at him, my stomach turning upside down. I have to go. Bye. OMG. I think of all the things I dried with those towels. I stop thinking. Where is my compassion? Where is my sledgehammer? Compassion? Sledgehammer? Compassion? Sledgehammer?