finding myself through dish washing

more talk about washing dishes. brace yourselves.

1 – when i have dinner at someone else’s house, i like to do the dishes afterward not only to help out and reciprocate their kindness but also because i want to avoid the awkwardness of drying the dishes and having no idea where to put them. trying to help out but requiring ample assistance when doing so is a horrible, pathetic thing.

on a similar note, it’s funny how good i feel about helping clean up at get togethers because i used to absolutely loathe it. the fact that i was soon going to feel obligated to help out always cast a gloom over whatever fantastic meal the host was graciously providing me. oh yes, i was incredibly, ridiculously lazy and selfish, and i am still ashamed of it. i was the same way with thank you letters after christmas. my parents would be on my ass to write to uncle bill and aunt lois and the various other mystery relatives who kindly sent money every year despite having never met me (at least as far as i could remember), but i couldn’t have given less of a shit about thanking them back then. the worst part is that the war of attrition with my parents sometimes ended with me winning, not writing any thank you letters. it’s awful. i’m so embarrassed. it might be residual guilt from those thankless years that drives me to try to be more vocal about my gratitude now.

2 – when i wash the dishes, i no longer fill the sink with dish water. instead, i fill the largest pot or mixing bowl and use that for my dish water. it probably uses less than 1/4 of the water of the sink. i started doing that a few years ago when we were put on severe water restrictions due to drought and it’s stuck with me since. i’m proud of this method because it’s super simple yet very effective.

taking it one step further, when i’m finished washing dishes i can take the pot or mixing bowl outside and water the fruit trees and ornamental plants with the stuff. marion showed me that part, bless her eco-friendly heart.

i must be really thin on material these days.


ode to my rack of clean dishes

i don’t mind doing dishes. i find cleaning in general is pretty satisfying. but what i really love is seeing the clean dishes sitting in the rack afterwards. i even let them stay there for a day or two, just because i find it such a pleasing sight. and i don’t like putting them away once they’re dry. i find that part really boring. i think it’s kind of stupid that i don’t mind washing them, love seeing them in the rack, and hate putting them away. what’s the difference between any of those steps? the end result is the same thing — gradually restoring order to my gross little corner of the world — so why should i like one part more than any others?

come to think of it now though, i love hanging laundry to dry on the clothesline for a similar reason. after i’ve finished hanging it all, i like to walk out into the yard and look at the line full of jeans and shirts and sheets. i like it because it feels old fashioned and nice, like the grainy 8 mm film footage they used in the wonder years — nostalgic, warm. and i don’t like putting the laundry away very much since that means i won’t get to see laundry on the line again till the next laundry day. so maybe my love for a rack of clean dishes is similar to that. maybe i enjoy seeing signs of simple, slow living, the evidence of daily rituals of peasant life. i think that’s it.


who leaves a mug on its side and a glass upright to dry? not in my house, pal.

i wonder if i’ll ever find a more mundane personal detail to dissect here. this will be a tough one to top.