Wash the dishes, dry the dishes,
I don’t know how this happened but we have never used a dishwasher. I have looked inside them, marvelling at the ingenuity of a machine that can clean the plates of solidified egg and dregs of dried up coffee, but never ever was I driven to turn one on.
Although it is true we never had one installed, we do have one now. It has never seen as much as an idle teaspoon or an obstinate saucepan. Some months ago we were the first to occupy this place with the dishwasher still in its virgin state. It is a gleaming machine with a smart colour camouflaging it as a kitchen cupboard to which it stands next. It is coyly pretending to be a cupboard which at times has me fooled when I try and open it as a cupboard. Alas, it doesn’t swing open normally sideways but only swivels downwards, reminding me of its real purpose, which is the rather thankless task of holding dirty crockery and sharp forks and knives.
Curiosity getting the better of me I once looked inside and noticed metal brackets taped together and an instruction booklet still in its plastic sleeve with a warning to keep the plastic bag away from kids as they might stick their heads in and suffocate. For years now we only seem to be able to buy things wrapped in plastic… The days of purchasing things without acres of plastic wrapping have long since gone.
Even those large items such as TV’s come encased in plastic bags or Styrofoam which kids are on the lookout for in order to suffocate themselves with. Only yesterday I bought an electric plug, a ‘male plug’, for a lead that would light up a reading light. A puppy dog had chewed its way through the previous lead. This male plug was so thoroughly wrapped in stiff plastic one needed secateurs to cut and wrench it free. Even a packet of tissues now almost require a chainsaw or a very fit woman to open it up. What misogynistic tyrant has thought up plastic wrapping?
Getting back to the dishwasher, there hasn’t been any particular reason for never having owned or used one; after all we do have a washing machine, coffee grinder and drive a car. No, it just never was much of a deal to wash up with a sink filled with warm water and soapy suds. Of course our kids have scoffed at us and showed us many times the benefits of having a machine that will do it all. “Look dad”, they say while bending down, “you just load it up”, then, “when it is full you turn it on.”
The rumbling of the machine tells us it is doing its job. The problem is in the rumbling, and for hours on end, it has to go through different cycles, rinsing etc, my daughter informs me that the noise is normal… I disagree and point out that the noise of a dishwasher is manic and likely to cause deep depression. The washing machine noise on the other hand is far more soothing, and anyway, locked inside the laundry.
The dishwasher in our place remains unused and just blinks at us with the fluorescent time-clock opposite the gas stove which also has a timer clock telling us the time, as does the microwave together with the watch on my wrist and of course the laptop which I am staring at right now. The alarm above the door also has a time flickering by and so does the remote for the TV as well as the TV itself. The CD player has the time and date, so does the car and the GPS. We are certainly well endowed with the time which passes relentlessly without remorse and so unforgiving. All those flickering timing devices; hurry up, don’t waste me, your time is now, do something you loafer.
Now, this is exactly why I have never used the dishwasher and never will. Alas, wasting time is my forte, so energising, so filled with dreamy therapy, an elixir with almost hypnotic benefits. No better way to clear the head and ponder about so much nothingness. What better way than to idle along, hands in soapy water and wrapped around a sloppy dishcloth with the bits of lost broccoli and bacon rind floating about the suds of yesterday’s dinners, asking to be read to tell the future.
Come on; waste some time, save soul and sanity, some carbon emissions and water. Do the dishes by hand. You’ll love it!