By Stefanie Boyd

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Doing dishes is a common bond among the renters of non-dishwasher-equipped apartments and houses.

I usually let dirty dishes pile up for weeks until I finally break down and commit the three or four hours necessary to undoing the disaster. But I never don the rubber, yellow, dish-doing gloves until all delay tactics have been exhausted.

As any amateur slob knows, you can always find just one more dish. Coke can be sipped from a soup bowl and corn cob skewers make damn fine forks.

Assistant news editor Greg D'Avis admits that his designated plant-watering receptacle assumes a duel role when things get desperate.

"I {will} drink from the plant jar," D'Avis said.

But the real struggle is alleviating the stench. During the first two weeks of dish decay, I open all my windows to aerate the apartment. This being a rather ineffectual tactic, the next step is to all-out mask the smell. I usually start burning incense around week four.

Last night, April 12, rounded the bend and brought the whole saga to the start of week five. My apartment had become a microcosmic Third World country and the authorities reported that the waning effectiveness of antibiotics could be attributed to the bacteria growing in my sink.

I put on the gloves, moved the incense burner into the kitchen and got to work. I ducked out of the kitchen and returned two minutes later with a thick smear of Vicks Vaporub across my upper lip, hoping this would help cover the smell.

At this point I had to resign myself to being totally disgusted and just persevere. Later, I went out to get my mail and breathe some fresh air. I saw my neighbor, Steve, standing on the balcony with his apartment door wide open.

"Hey, what're you doing?" I asked.


"Yeah, me too."

"Got any incense I can borrow?"

"All out, sorry."

After hours of toil, my dishes are finally contamination-free. The thing is, I think I've permanently altered the pH balance of my kitchen. It still smells rancid in there. But at least I'm not embarrassed anymore to call the maintenance man and have him come deal with my bug problem.

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