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Dear Annie: Dirty dishes drama with roommates

Dear Annie: I’m in my late 20s, and I live with three roommates. We were friends before moving in together — and we still are, although I’m concerned about what may happen in that respect. Lately, we’ve been having some roommate drama, and I’m hoping to defuse the situation.

The epicenter of all the drama is, predictably, the kitchen.

One roommate, “Wendy,” leaves dishes in the sink for days at a time — which I wouldn’t even mind that much, except that she eventually forgets they’re hers and then refuses to do them. One of us (most recently, I did) will say something to the effect of: “I think those are your dishes from the other night. Would you mind cleaning up before I have company over tomorrow night?”

Wendy not only denies that they’re her dishes but also seems a little offended and bemused by the question.

At first, the other clean-freak roommate and I would just say forget it and do her dishes ourselves, but I’m getting tired of it. I hate doing my own dishes, let alone someone else’s.

I wish I were financially stable enough to afford a place of my own, but if I want to start putting a decent amount of money in my savings account, having roommates seems like the best option. Any advice on harmonizing this household? — Deep in Dishes

Dear Deep: The key is to scrub any ambiguity from the situation. If forgetfulness is the issue, then ensure that dishes are done before there’s any time to forget. Make it a house rule that no dish can be left in the sink overnight. You might also consider using your own flatware and bowls so there’s no confusion as to whose crusty cereal bowl has been growing fuzz over the past week.

Remember that the war of the dishes has raged since the dawn of roommates, and it shows no signs of dying down. So don’t go wasting all your energy on it.

Dear Annie: The first time I saw one of those disposable teeth-flossers lying in a parking lot, it looked so bizarre to me. Now I’m seeing them often. It seems people have gotten so insensitive and selfish that they don’t care about other people having to deal with the sight —or the birds and other animals who might choke on them. Do they think anyone wants to pick up their dirty dental floss? Yuck! I’ll bet that 90 percent of the time, they’re going right into a store or building with a garbage can conveniently located on the way in. I hope people see this and start caring about others more. — Seen Enough

Dear Seen: “Yuck!” is right. This is disgustingly selfish behavior. Not only are floss picks wasteful but also many dentists argue that they’re not so good for our mouths as regular old dental floss. I’m sure some people have legitimate reasons for using these plastic picks, but I think we can all agree that there’s no legitimate reason for throwing them on the ground.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.