There is a certain stairwell on campus that has a little problem. Specifically, one apartment in that stairwell does not understand what exactly it is supposed to do with its trash. Repeatedly, bags and bags of smelly, disgusting garbage are left for days and weeks on end directly outside this apartment’s door. Other apartments in this stairwell are not necessarily pictures of cleanliness, but they are not so disrespectful and ignorant as to follow suit in creating piles of trash bags outside their doors. Only the “landfill” apartment regularly leaves mountains of bagged garbage outside its front door to the annoyance of its neighbors.

Some of the members of the Landfill seem to pass the responsibility for the garbage to their other roommates. But at the end of the day, the pile of trash remains for their exceedingly tolerant neighbors to dance around and trip over.

Last Friday night, a dirty situation turned ugly as the Landfill decided to throw a raging party. As always, there had been bags of trash outside of the Landfill before the party. Apparently, the residents of the Landfill failed to see the flaw in inviting hordes of their fellow sophomores to flood the stairwell and intoxicate themselves while a pile of trash impeded the path of the stampede.

At some point in the evening, some Landfill guests had the brainstorm to destroy some of the bags of trash in as violent a manner as possible. Their unbridled display of testosterone yielded the loveliest of trashy delights – a big pile of loose trash. And it was not just any trash. This cast of trash starred bathroom trash, the particularly personal trash that no one wants to touch in their own house, let alone when it is the byproduct of the bodies of strangers.

Partygoers took the trash in stride, quite literally. It was spread throughout the stairwell in a repulsive testament to ignorance and rudeness. Particularly gross was the stockpile of trash that developed in front of the door to the apartment opposite the Landfill. This remained until the neighbors of the Landfill returned from a lovely dinner-outing at about midnight. At that point, a minor confrontation occurred that went something like this:

Neighbors returning from dinner: “Wow. Looks like the trash apartment had a party. Hey look! There’s their used tampons directly outside our apartment. That’s the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.”

[Neighbor No. 1 proceeds to kick trash out of the way of their door into the direction of entering and exiting partygoers who appear stunned to have trash being kicked at them. The neighbors and their friends enter their apartment.]

Friends of neighbors: “Let’s call DPS.”

Neighbors: “They’re not really being all that loud. We don’t really have grounds to call DPS, and besides, we wouldn’t do that to our neighbors.”

Friends of neighbors: “We don’t care. Let’s call DPS. It’s a [expletive] move, but you know what? Leaving your trash outside your [expletive] apartment all the time, especially when you’re having a party, is much more of a [expletive] move.”

[Friends proceed to argue over who gets to call DPS by means of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Meanwhile, one of the neighbors spots a resident of the Landfill.]

Neighbor No. 2: “Hey! This is disgusting.”

Landfill Resident No. 1: “I’m sorry. It’s not my fault. My roommates don’t like to take the trash out.”

Neighbor No. 2: “This is not acceptable. You need to clean this up. This is ridiculous. Having a party is fine. We understand it’s going to be loud. No problem. We even understand that your party friends are going to leave a few cups and cans of your cheap Keystone Light beer in the stairwell. We can deal with that. But if you’re having a party, you can’t leave your trash outside of your apartment. Your used tampons are where we feel we really need to draw the line. Is that unreasonable?”

To Landfill Resident No. 1’s credit, she immediately collected and removed the trash and issued an apology with a bag of the collected trash in hand as evidence of a good-faith effort. And the tolerant neighbors felt bad for Landfill Resident No. 1, and they reasonably dissuaded their friends who had suggested calling DPS.

Of course, by the next morning, as sure as you can count on the ATM in Leavey to be “back in a few minutes” and out of commission, there was a brand new bag of trash adorning the doorway to the Landfill. The bottom of the stairwell was lined with a thick layer of someone’s notes and packets, giving the all-too-appropriate ambiance of a birdcage.

Everyone does not need to live in a pristinely cleaned apartment. If you want to make a mess inside your space, that is up to you and your roommates. But when you dump your trash in public space, you are disrespecting all those who live around you. And that’s just disgusting.

Just Looking appears Tuesdays in The Hoya.

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