EXHIBIT #03 – Over/Under-Analysis


FEAR OF THE WEEK: Dealing with the compost/recycling/trash wrong. Or the toilet paper. Or the dishes. Or whatever.


It’s an age-old debate: does the toilet paper roll over or under? It seems like an innocuous question, and yet friendships have ended, relationships been broken, wars been waged* over the correct way to place the roll. We all have strong opinions about which way we prefer the roll, and which way is wrong and only used by heathens. And despite the fact that I know I’m right, I dread the day I will be forced to defend my position on appropriate TP etiquette.

Okay, so this was all very dramatic.** Realistically, your toilet tissue roll preferences are probably just determined by A) how your mom did it, B) whether you have cats and/or small children, or C) simply how you slid the roll onto the holder because you’re one of the lucky lucky few who actually doesn’t care. But it’s still something that people tend to fixate on, and something that people are oddly likely to notice in other’s people’s bathrooms. I know I do, especially because I, maybe weirdly, am one of those people who will root around in someone else’s bathroom to find a spare roll if the one on the holder is running low. And if I chance to replace the roll, which I have absolutely no shame in doing, I replace it in exactly the direction of the previous roll, because I don’t want to start a fight over toilet paper.

I do this with recycling and compost too. If I’m hanging out at a friend’s house, or know I’ll be housesitting for someone, I will get almost obsessive trying to pay attention to how they handle divvying up the trash/recycling/compost.*** Do they rinse their cans and bottles before they put them in the bin? Where do paper cups go? Do they separate the colored glass from the clear? How are cardboard boxes handled? Will we get fined by the city if we do it wrong!?!?

This is silly, and I know it. As long as I’m following basic common sense of wet vs dry, biodegradable vs recyclable, and so on, it really shouldn’t matter if I do I slightly differently from the rest of the household, right? I mean, even in my own house, I am nitpicky about different things that my mother or my sister, and we haven’t killed each other,**** so why would it be different anywhere else.

The answer, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is actually a mixture of wanting to avoid conflict, and fear of being judged. In the first place, I don’t want to get yelled at for handling (or rather, not handling) basic adult concepts like “where does the empty whiskey bottle go” in a way that makes me seem, well, unable to adult. (Ask the parents of my favorite cat-sittees about the time they were in Mexico on vacation and I texted them to ask if there was a spare car key so I could move their car to get the recycling out to the curb for pickup and I’m pretty sure they just laughed at me.) And then, there’s just the weird, niggling voice in the back of my brain that says that everyone’s opinions of me with be permanently set to negative based solely on their assessment of how well I rinse the dishes before I load a dishwasher.*****

As is becoming (and will continue to be) a common refrain in these posts – I realize this is ridiculous. It is highly unlikely that I’m ever going to lose a friend, or a job, or the respect of someone I care about, because I don’t always separate the plastic bottle cap from the plastic bottle before I toss it in the bin. So the trick is to find away to allow myself to just…handle these household necessities as I think is appropriate, and if something needs to change, to allow the friend/homeowner/mom in charge to let me know without fearing repercussion. In conclusion, I think this diagram sums up my feelings best:

Toilet Paper Patent

Just sayin’.




*According to the internet, which we all know is 100% accurate all the time.


*** For the two people who don’t know me that well, I live in a county of California where separating trash, recycling, and compost is mandatory. Save the planet, y’all; Mars isn’t habitable right now.

**** Yet.

***** I am my mother’s daughter and I scrub dishes with soap before putting them in a dishwasher, which I’m telling you because this blog experiment is about being vulnerable and opening myself up to judgement from others evenifitmeansyouallthinkI’mnuts.


  1. I, minutes before reading this, flipped the roll of TP in the bathroom because I know my dad is particular about it. There have been actual arguments over it between him and my brother. Lol

  2. I was going along nodding and commiserating while thinking “I overthink that too, but I also don’t judge other people doing it so…” until I hit the dishwasher part because I DO INTENSELY JUDGE HOW PEOPLE LOAD THE DISHWASHER. (FWIW you and I managed to live together for a year without me noticing, or at least now remembering noticing, you doing it Wrong so I guess you’re off the hook.) (but I will redo every load my father does for the rest of our lives, so help me god.)

    • I genuinely might have done all the dishes by hand out of fear of being judged for my dishwasher loading techniques when we lived together; I do not recall. (Probably not, but I was raised by a meticulous there-is-a-correct-way dishwasher family so maybe i just lucked out.)

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