Dishwashing quietly underpins my existence. It's the constant, bubbling engine; a ritual I started in my early teens with the supportive encouragement of my parents. I've kept it up more or less religiously ever since, as a student and later as an adult (at least that's the order as I recall).
I try to spend at least ten minutes in front of a sink, two or three times every day. I usually do this after breakfast or dinner, for reasons I can't explain. Instinct I guess. It's a ritual, indispensable to my physical and mental health and detrimental to my skin. It's an essentially egalitarian pursuit, all you need is hot water and some kind of detergent (expensive brands are often overrated and gloves are for career dishies and poseurs only). Don't pay more than $10 combined for a brush and green scrubby, it's truly not worth it.
Sink work is a solitary exercise, like walking or cycling, and it leaves time to contemplate things like how sticky scrambled eggs are, or what you'd rather be doing. I like my water hotter than some, scrub at a high cadence, and stack like a banshee. But I don't measure my performance against anyone but myself- that's not the dishwasher's code.
My Dad taught me the merit of a good pre-soak- no one likes drying a wet plate that's still cold. I tend to air dry these days, rather than work a double configuration (the latest science says its more hygienic), but the principle is universal and has gotten me as far in business as any textbook or seminar. My mother taught me that if you drain and rinse the sink afterwards, your mother won't be angry and make you do it when you want to play Civilisation II.
It's funny really- I've found that if I miss more than a few days of dishwashing in a row, my relationships immediately suffer and my bench space lessens to nearly nothing. If I miss more than a week I find dirty porridge pans in my side of the bed, which interferes with my sleep. Neglecting this daily exercise leads to the rapid deterioration of my spiritual health and diet, to the point that I eat off the floor. Why? That is the mystery of it. I can only conclude that dishwashing is entangled and ensconced in my life in a myriad mysterious and deep-rooted ways, its benefits stretching beyond the groping reach of my timid philosophy.
I hope to continue washing dishes in my own home well into my thirties.
With weak apologies to Haruki Murakami, who I won't be able to outrun.
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