There is no method, only madness. A mug is stacked next to a bowl, which is next to a wooden cutting board, which, for goodness sake, should not even be in the dishwasher. My partner, E, is perfect in every way, except in how she loads the dishwasher. Instead of taking the logical approach and starting from the back, she will just stick a dish anywhere. It hurts my soul to look at it. “What kind of person does this?” I mutter, as I rearrange everything.
For the record, I am normally far too cool to care about mundanities such as dish placement. But these are not normal times. Spending so much time stuck in the house has led me to fixate on weird things; when everything outside is so chaotic, there is great comfort to be had in organisation. E seems to have got like this with the kitchen cupboards, which she has rearranged multiple times (although, somehow, an errant Tupperware lid still falls on your head whenever you open one). She is also fanatical about making the bed properly, which I have come to appreciate. I try to make the bed, too, but it never seems to be up to her high standards and she always redoes it. No doubt muttering: “What kind of person does this?”
At the start of the pandemic, I thought about getting into DIY – putting up shelves, doing home improvements and so on. That quickly fell by the wayside, but I did assemble a bar cart. We never had cocktails at home pre-Covid; now I mix a mean Manhattan. Like many basic millennials, I have also become obsessed with houseplants during quarantine; it is amazing how much a bit of greenery can cheer you up. April was awful in New York; it was the centre of the pandemic and the wailing of ambulance sirens was nonstop. Funeral homes were storing bodies in U-Haul trucks; there was a morgue in Central Park. Watering the plants, cultivating life, was a much-needed distraction from death.
E and I live in a one-bedroom apartment and, for the past few months, we have rarely been more than a few metres apart. There was a time when the idea of not having my own space would have made me break out in hives, but, to reinforce codependent lesbian stereotypes, being together all the time has been brilliant. I worked from home before the pandemic and, while I can no longer break the monotony by going to a coffee shop, I now have a co-worker to make things less lonely. We turned the enclosed balcony into E’s office and, when she has been out there for a while, I start to miss her. (Sickening, I know.) Rascal, our dog, also loves having us both at home: I am not sure how we will manage when E eventually goes back to her office. Still, at least I will be able to take back control of the dishwasher.