I woke up this morning thinking about dishwashing.
The old-fashioned kind, by hand, in a sink.
So I'm going to confess that I've always rather liked
this chore (ahem, in moderation). The hot water
feels good, and if there is a window framing a garden,
I find it meditative. There's a reassuring routine to it
(and I can hear my mother's instructions here):
put the silverware in first, to soak, then begin
with the glassware, proceed to plates & small bowls,
then larger bowls, and then pots & pans. Sharp knives
are never set to soak -- too much risk of picking one up
unknowingly in soapy sudsy water. Finally, the
silverware, now easy after having soaked.
Believe it or not, back in my Two Tartes days, I had to
instruct new employees on the Art of Washing Dishes.
And I mean, from before step one:
-3) Clean out sink.
-2) Run hot water, add soap.
-1) Scrape chunks off dishes.
I was under the impression that, raised in the presence
of automatic dishwashing appliances, these kids had never
seen a pile of dirty dishes and a sinkful of suds. They would
approach the task with the speed of a sloth, and most
everything came out greasy or still chunk-studded.
So it was back to square, er, sink one.
When I became frustrated with their lack of progress
and the dirty dishes began to teeter and the clean
dishes were no more, I'd gently push the trainee
to the side and go into Power Wash. Generally,
everyone got out of my way when this happened.
Jaws dropped. I went into a reverie, the endorphins
began to flow in abundance, and in a matter of minutes
we were back in business.
It was a weird kind of high for me. (I've rarely had
any use for recreational drugs -- just set me in front
of a sink of dirty dishes, set the timer -- and wheeeee!)
(When my sons accuse me of weirdness, I thank them.)
In my childhood years of enforced house-chores, there
was always a pair of us sisters at the sink in the
post-dinner hour. And there was generally song, from us:
spirituals, anthems, all the songs from The Sound of Music
or Oliver or Camelot. When younger sister Kath and I
hit high school and were both in choir, and it was often
the precise notes of Handel that would rise along
with Joy or Ivory Liquid bubbles:
Alas, our voices were not quite as sweet
as those here, but I think that one of my mother's
greatest joys was sitting in the living room
with the evening Times, the lilt of her daughters'
voices filling our little red house.