Washing dishes (by hand) is one of my favorite things in the whole world to do. It brings me great joy. For me it is a spiritual practice much like meditation or yoga. It is a chance to clear my noggin of all thought and become intensely present in the moment, allowing peace and joy and love to flow/gush through my entire being.
If you were to ask any of my ‘real life’ friends or family — anyone who has actually witnessed me washing dishes — they would all no doubt say that I am a weirdo. Some would call me a Luddite. They just don’t understand.
There is no electric dish washing appliance in the apartment in which I have been living for the last almost six years. If there was one I would just use it for storage. I certainly would never use it to actually wash dishes thus depriving myself of the powerful pleasure of washing them by hand.
Scanning the memory banks of my noggin, I realize that I have only used a dishwasher appliance once in the last thirty-five years. It happened on a certain Thanksgiving holiday.
It happened way, way, way back during my daughter’s senior year in high school. I single-handedly prepared an elaborate Thanksgiving turkey meal for fifteen people. It may very well have been my greatest culinary achievement. Everything turned out perfectly.
I have only cooked between twelve and fifteen turkeys in my life but the one I cooked that day was by far the juiciest and tenderest one of them all. It could not have been more perfect. And all the other dishes turned out perfectly, too. I think Julia Child would have been proud of me. I sure was proud of myself.
I spent the better part of the day preparing the big feast — and trying to figure out how the hell I was going to fit fifteen people into the apartment I was living in back then. It was quite the challenge but I joyously met it.
When the meal was finished I was barraged with compliments and thanks. Several of those people said that it was the best turkey they had ever had.
Eventually the wife and her boyfriend left as did everyone else. My daughter and her boyfriend (who is now her husband) were the last ones to leave.
Not a single solitary person offered to help me clean up.
And there was a humongous mess that needed cleaning up.
After hugging my daughter and shaking her boyfriend’s hand I said something about how the fun was now about to begin (referring to the mess).
That is when my daughter proclaimed, “Dad, don’t be retarded! Use the freaking dishwasher!” (Which she pointed to.)
After closing the door behind them I looked at the dog and the cat who both appeared to be in a tryptophan-induced coma on the floor. They were spooning as they so often did. They were of no help.
Entering the kitchen I stopped and looked over the mess. I think I used every plate and every utensil and every bowl and every pot or pan that I owned in preparing the feast. And every one of those things needed to be washed.
In that apartment I used the dishwasher to store some of my bigger pots and pans, including the turkey roasting pan. Opening it up, I saw that it was completely empty. So I took my daughter’s advice and used the dishwasher. I ended up running two loads through it. (I realized that I had none of that powdered dishwasher soap so I used the liquid sink soap — not a good idea.)
After the glorious day of cooking and the feast that turned out so perfectly it was a real downer to wash everything in the dishwasher. There is no joy in loading a dishwasher then listening to it rumble. If I wasn’t so exhausted I would have stopped after the first load and washed the rest by hand. But I finally got everything cleaned up and went to bed.
And I have never again used a dishwasher. Nope. Sorry. Won’t do it.
My daughter hates washing dishes by hand more than anything in the entire world. She refuses to do it just as I refuse to use a dishwasher. We are very different yet very much the same in our differences.
When it comes to washing dishes in her house she always uses the dishwasher and she employs the help of her two daughters. She will rinse a plate then hand it to one daughter who hands it to the other daughter to place in the dishwasher. My daughter has a little assembly line and army of dishwasher loaders.
It’s really sad. Those two darling little girls are going to grow up without ever experiencing the euphoric pleasure of washing dishes by hand. They won’t even know that it’s a thing. They will grow up thinking that using a dishwasher is the one and only way to wash dishes. And I imagine most kids today will also grow up thinking this way. They will all grow up unknowingly deprived of one of the greatest joys of life.
This is so depressing for me to witness. But maybe, just maybe, at some time in the distant future someone will accidentally rediscover the spiritual joy of washing dishes by hand and they will share their discovery and a movement will spread around the world as people everywhere defy technological convention and take up the holy practice of washing dishes by hand again.
Realistically, this may never happen. The art of washing dishes by hand may very well end forever when I kick the bucket.