Doing Dishes

I love doing dishes. Well, that might be overstating it.

Most of the time I don’t mind doing dishes, much of the time I like it, and on rare occasions I do love it.

And when I say, “doing dishes,” I mean getting my hands in hot soapy water, picking up a scrubby, and swiping away at them. Even when I have had dishwashers, I was one of those old-fashioned idiots who refused to trust them, so basically I washed the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I don’t really think of them as dishwashers. They are more dish sterilizers, once I get them clean. There actually is a dishwasher in this house, but it broke down within a few months of my being here and I hold out no hopes for it being replaced. So my dishes these days get washed but not sterilized. We ain’t dead yet.

I don’t mind doing dishes because I never do them without having first soaked them. I fill the sink with hot soapy water and dishes to be washed. A little later, I go to turn the ones that are still sticking out. That way, by the time I come to actually washing them off, no actual scrubbing is required. Just pass the scrubby over the surface, rinse in hot water, and let them rest in the rack. The entire process leaves plenty of unused brain cells to remember a favorite song or think a thought or decide something unimportant.

I like doing dishes because it is a useful thing to do. I mean, one can just keep going, using all the possible variations of “dishes” that both cupboard and cutlery can supply, but eventually needs must. If you, like me, pride yourself on being a useful human being, doing dishes is easier than cleaning the bathtub or mowing the lawn. You’ve done a thing. Life can proceed easier than if you had not done it. Pat yourself on the back and go take a nap.

I love doing dishes on cold wintry days or chilly rainy days or any day that feels like that, no matter the weather. Putting my hands into warm soapy water always feels like a bit of comfort. Washing up the dishes after a good meal right before I go to bed is also a little bit of love I can give to those with whom I share shelter – lately, my son. And as long as I take a little bit of time to prepare for the task, it is never a burden. Sometimes even a joy.

As for drying them and putting them away – well. The dear little things dry themselves, don’t they? And only those of us who suffer from completionism bother to put them back where they belong. We don’t all need to do that. As a matter of fact, from the moment you have sluiced that last bit of rinse water from the last item into the disposal (you’ve got one of those, right?) and placed the thing into the drying rack, you are finished. Turn on the TV. Check out Facebook. Go to bed. You have done the damn dishes.