This post is brought to you by hypocrisy.
I have seen the crawling chaos of a kitchen kept in a permanent hurricane of filth. I have seen dishes smeared with a residue of coalesced grime with a slithering, unreal consistency. I have seen what grows in a sealed crock pot six months after the teriyaki chicken within was finished cooking. I know the nightmare, and from that I have learned horrible things. I will reduce my war with grime to the two pivotal events that have soiled my peace of mind more than anything else.
The sink–it knew me. A dozen frozen pancake-batter eyes stared into mine as I reached within its stagnant mass to battle the clogged drain from which they came. Because I wanted to keep my skin, I wore two pairs of yellow rubber gloves. In the drain, the bowels of the beast, was the rat-king of tea bags, dozens of entwined bags of earl grey permanently joined had stuffed themselves into the drain. I wrenched them from their nest and hurled them across the room. With a corpulent burble, my sink drained. The bubbles winked at me as they deflated, and left pouches of thick water on the virulent pool. When the sink was empty, I closed my eyes and poured bleach into the rotted orifice that once held my tiny swamp. It was over, and humanity’s first contact with an alien species had happened in my kitchen, and I am scarred for it.
The crock pot. Nothing should see what I saw within, and nothing should be able to make such a sound or smell. It was a wet slurping that sounded chunky and organic. Imagine an orgy of crocodiles in a swampy pit while your middle school bully loudly chews gum and you will know the sound of ancient, rotten chicken in a puddle of fermented teriyaki. However, you will never know the scent. Gases expand to fill the container that holds them, and the same proves true for the memory of a gas. The smell of that pot has tainted every memory, every scrap of joy in the container that holds it: me. When I try to remember the gentle fragrance of a rose, I instead recall the feeling of a wet sock of scent being shoved down my throat while a featherless chicken screams in German; there is no joy, only the chicken and the sock. I threw the pot away into a dumpster, but the memory lingers. It is stronger than me, and I sometimes find myself holding a jug of bleach instead of a coffee mug, and I know my brain is trying to cleanse itself. I know I cannot be clean, not after The Kitchen.
I have been ruined by 2 years of my collected waste I thought I was too busy to clean. Anywhere I go, I will bring with me the soggy, furry jetsam of old meals that refuse to let go. If you learn anything from me, let it be this: clean your kitchen, and do not be like me. I have since moved from the apartment where the great battle took place. Physically I have moved on, but some part of me, some deep primordial slug of myself is still splashing around in the thick chicken jelly at the bottom of that crock pot.