Have you ever watched someone do the dishes? I used to watch my mom all the time. I even think of it sometimes and miss it, especially when I’m “watching” myself do the dishes instead, hehe.
I love watching people do dishes, I always have. It’s such menial work – it’s so simple, so basic and yet I find the repetitive motions mesmerizing. It’s a small thing that separates us from animals, I suppose, and makes us civilized.
In my house it was also bonding time. We never had a dishwasher. Well, we did. Her name is Mom, plus the 10 each that each kid had to do. It’s a time to get together and pitch in, and it’s another opportunity to fight because there is always someone who just likes washing. I’m one of those people. I like to get warm with my hands in the dishwater longer than they’re on the cloth. But once everyone has their position, the best talks are had around the sink as we try desperately to fit the puzzle pieces of bowls and plates back into the kitchen cupboards, wondering how they ever fit in there in the first place and why you even still have that old platter with the crack in it, anyway.
When it’s just my mom and me, we sing. Sometimes a Capella, trying to remember various harmony lines we’ve learned or made up in the past or, more than likely, turning up the volume on The Beatles “1” CD, skipping their later, crazier stuff. And the dishes go so quickly I find myself looking for more. This isn’t something that ever happens when I’m on my own. All the music in the world can’t speed up the process. I’m quite slow at it, actually. Too much of a perfectionist, I like to think.
But this brings my back to my original question; have you ever really watched someone do the dishes? Am I the only one who stands in awe, watching the steam rise from the water, seeing weathered hands turn red-hot in the heat to ensure the utmost cleanliness. Am I the only one who gets lost in the swirl of the cloth and the sound of the water splashing and flying all over, rinsing and soaking the cloth to do it all over again? There’s so much care that’s put in to it, nothing that ever happens in a dishwasher. I feel ancient in this opinion, but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who thinks doing the dishes is a beautiful and enriching experience that I never thought I’d miss. Check in though if the dishwasher I currently use ever breaks. Maybe then I’ll find machines beautiful. But I doubt it.