October 23, 2008

Dirty Dishes

I used to work with a woman, who, really, was just a great person and a great friend, but, like most people, she had a few quirks. I mean, all of us do, right? I tend to pick my friends based on their quirks and how much I either like them or despise them. So, this woman had some quirks that I loved and some that I just despised. One in particular was that she often tried to cover up things about herself that make her human. Like she might expect you to believe that she didn’t pooh or something like that. And she hated the word “fart.” All of these, in my book, were a little annoying, but she was just too cute and too funny to let them ruin the friendship.

One time, I went to her house to pick her up for something and when I walked in the door into the kitchen I noticed she had very carefully placed a dish towel over the dirty dishes in her sink. I looked at the sink and then at her and said, “Why did you cover your dirty dishes?” She blushed and smiled and said, “Oh Claire, I don’t want you to know what a mess it is.”

OK, I get the intent, but really, she and I both knew what was under that towel! And, frankly, it’s a little weird to me to go on pretending that we don’t know what’s under the towel or that covering your dishes with a towel somehow makes them less dirty or less there.

On the other hand, I know what it feels like to want to hide the dirty stuff inside or about me so that no one knows it is there. Even if I can find a big enough towel to cover it all, it seems like I would always know it was there and very likely, others would also notice it.

Peeling back the towel and rifling through the chaos and bleakness is hard, it is painful. It is scary. And I am left with the crushing knowledge that although I smile and laugh and try to do the right thing, I fail every single day and remain absolutely and imperfectly human.

I hurt someone with my humanness recently and I want to cry and scream and point fingers at everyone else. But it was me and only me who was responsible for the hurt. And it must be me and only me who sits with the sadness and listens to the truthful accusations. The towels are off and all I am left with is my dirty dishes for all to see.

No comments: