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Mysterious Phenomena in Community Living
by William Polowniak, Ph.D.

I’m constantly puzzled by several phenomena that I find recurring in community living environments. Sigmund Freud often said that people are lazy which is why neurotic and psychopathic behaviors get themselves entrenched. People are too lazy to build good habits.
 Having lived in community now for over 30 years I have tried everything I know to change what I see as little burdens on community living. I have tried communication, consensual decision making in community meetings and even benevolent dictatorship. Nothing seems to work.
 Why is it that wet dishes are always stacked on top of dry ones in the drip tray even though it takes less than  60 seconds to put the dry ones away? I’ve timed it. Why is it that the ice cube trays are left empty in the freezer, or worse still, left with only one or two ice cubes left? Why are counter tops and a dining room table left with spills not cleaned off, floors with left over spills of smoothy makers, and bathrooms left for someone else to clean? Why is it that dirty dishes which are so easy to clean immediately while food stuff is wet and easily cleaned, people leave things until food is caked on hard as a rock? And why do people leave pots soaking with such a cavalier comment and outright lie saying “I’ll be back in a few minutes to clean that?And why is it that women never put the toilet seat back up? (Joke.) Why, when a thriving organic garden is available with free food ready for harvest, minutes to the table, do some people get in their cars, pollute the environment with smog on the way to the store, and then buy non organic produce which is at least 3 days old. And then throw half of it away in the trash because it has wilted? Why in community kitchens, do some people while doing their own dishes, refuse to do the odd cup or plate left behind even though their hands are already wet and their cleaning sponge is full of soap?
 I have literally seen some residents not only never put a new roll of bathroom tissue back on the roller, but I have seen up to 5 empty rolls not even thrown in the trash. Doesn’t anyone care about neatness and order any more? Why is it that when a resident borrows a tool from the shop, they do not return it exactly where they found it and clean? Worse still why is it that some people take community tools and keep them in their rooms forgotten to themselves and denied access to others? Why are paper bags which are so easy to refold and recycle crunched up and thrown away? I have seen people throw away perfectly good paper bags and then go out and buy paper sandwich bags for lunches. Why as a culture do we prefer waste to conservation reusing and recycling?
 Why do people refuse to communicate when a few minutes of honest communication will solve a problem and instead drag unfinished business out for weeks, months or even years? And why do some people inflict mean and cruel or brutal behavior on others when we all know how nice it is to be gentle and caring with each other?
 I’ve always been of the belief that the way a person treats their living space especially their bedroom and bathroom, is the way they treat their body and their diet. Sloppy habits lead to depression.
 I have a cure for depression. The first thing you do is brush your teeth, take a bath preferably or a shower as a second choice, then you do your laundry. Next you clean your room, then the kitchen and bathroom, then the rest of the house. Then you tidy up the yard and the garage or storage areas. Next you take a walk. No you do not tidy up the neighborhood in any kind of compulsive way, but certainly you remove trash from in front of your house or your neighbor’s house. You take a walk to get your blood flowing and to exercise your heart to start cleaning your inner physical body. The problem with depression is that often you forget to do these simple things. Instead you turn on the TV, grab a beer or some ice cream, or worse enervate your body and being with nervous energy by drinking coffee or tea after 4 P.M. (or at all) thereby keeping yourself up and enduring insomnia.

What’s wrong with the coffee habit? •Mineral depletion •Exhausted adrenal glands •Indigestion • Anxiety • Heart disease

• Blood sugar swings— Caffeine forces the liver to release glycogen into the bloodstream, which causes the pancreas to secrete excess insulin producing a sharp blood sugar drop (hypoglycemia.)
• Acid imbalance— More than 208 acids in Coffee contribute to indigestion and a variety of health problems caused by overacidity.

• Mineral Depletion— Caffeine forces the body to excrete calcium, potassium, iron and trace minerals — all essential elements necessary for good health.

• Caffeine can produce anxiety, irritability and even panic— the opposite of what you need when facing life’s problems or conflicts.

• For pregnant women— Caffeine crosses the placenta to the fetus causing higher incidence of miscarriage, infertility and low infant birth weight. Premenstrual syndrome and fibrocystic breast disease are both aggravated by caffeine. It worsens hot flashes and other symptoms caused by hormonal fluctuations during menopause.

• Men with prostate problems— Coffee irritates the urinary tract and bladder.

As we get older those of us that are lucky enough to gain wisdom have learned that human habit is the most insidious and damaging thing we have to endure. It is therefore important for us to make the aware choice to build good habits to take the place of and replace bad, lazy and slovenly habits. It seems I’ll never understand why people allow sloppiness in their lives. But it is a puzzlement. Even compulsive cleanliness is sloppy as the proverbial example of the neurotic who washes his or her hands over and over all day long.

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