Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Amusing Myself in Various Ways

You know how smells can really bring back memories? Today when I was doing some dishes--a small pile of non-dishwasher-friendly items had built up--I used this new bottle of dish soap, which was green Palmolive (my preferred Palmolive is yellow and smells lemony). Immediately, memories rushed back to me of doing morning breakfast dishes during one of my workshifts when I was living at Stebbins Hall, a student co-op in Berkeley.

Student co-ops are student owned and operated. That only means it's a guaranteed shithole if more than about 75 people live there. We did have a few mice in ours, but really, they can be a good and affordable option for those who don't want to get an apartment. I enjoyed my time at Stebbins, the first semester of my junior year. I just got burnt out by roommates, shared living, and yes, 5 hours a week of workshifts. I had breakfast dishes for half an hour one day a week (in addition to a snack-cooking shift and some random post-meal cleanup), and they must have used the green Palmolive because man, did I suddenly get this strong memory of standing there at the giant sink, industrial-showerhead-sized spray nozzle hanging over the basin, tubs of nasty dishes that had been soaking since the previous night waiting for me to soap them, rinse them, and put them in the sanitizer. We had this huge dish sanitizing machine that would heat dishes to ridiculous temperatures while spraying iffy chemicals on them.

Morning dishes wasn't bad, though. The workshift I was glad I didn't have was pot & pan scrubber. Or hot tub cleaner. (Yes, there was a redwood-paneled hot tub. That was just too scary for me to use, mainly because I didn't trust the guy whose job it was to clean it.)

Stebbins was pretty cool. We never had huge parties open to the public, which was good; only in-house events. Casa Zimbabwe and Cloyne Court, both on our street, were huge and held parties with actual local bands. I was happy to go and glad not to live there. I was also glad not to live at Le Chateau, a huge co-op on Southside, because at some point I heard that their basement was flooded and a bunch of people got hepatitis. Ah, the good old days.

3 comments:

chloe said...

I can't believe you guys had a hot tub at your co-op. That would be a hepatitis breeding ground for sure!

TadMack said...

...Not to mention other diseases. Urg. There's a redwood tub place in Berkeley I went to ONCE -- and I have to tell you even though it smelled like bleach? Still freaked me out. I must say I'm all for FIBERGLASS in communal settings...

The smell of Tide (the regular liquid stuff) brings back memories of working for six years at summer camp, two summers in the laundry, doing clothes for the staff AND for the extended stay campers. At least I got to read and veg and listen to music while I worked(I could actually HEAR) unlike when I went to help out the Kitchen Kids. They had that industrial dish washer thing for the 700 and some kids a week that went through which meant hours and hours and hours of wearing white aprons and plastic gloves and fending off clouds of boiling steam and listening to it screech...

Ah, the good old days of weird jobs. Good thing we gave it all up to be, um, temp workers...

a. fortis said...

I never did get up the nerve to use that hot tub, either. I have used the hot tubs at Albany Sauna, which are redwood, but they seemed very clean. You still can't help thinking about other users, though, I guess.

Even more disturbing was the thought of the hot tub at Casa Zimbabwe. Just judging from the house itself, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near the hot tub. Plus I think it was out back by the compost pile--even less appealing.