On Washing Dishes


Ode to Washing Dishes

First, make sure your sink is under a window. 
Look outside while you fill the basin. If daytime, 
don’t scrutinize your lawn. Do laugh 
at quarreling birds or your own yawning dog. 
If night, be kind to your reflection. 
Appreciate your long arms that disappear 
at the wrists and the wrinkles at your mouth. 

Don’t think of this task as another in a hundred. 
It is the reward when those are done, 
the chocolate mousse after steamed vegetables. 
If the hot water and bubbles, 
the lavender smell, the wine glass 
to your left and soft terrycloth 
against your bare shoulder are not a comfort 
in this late hour, then you are doing it all wrong.

By my lovely, talented friend, Melissa.  

One of the most virulent, but silly, fights of the first year Sweet Husband and I lived together was about the dishes.  I still can quote him, "Can you possibly fit one more dirty dish in this sink!?!?"

To be fair, my philosophy on dishes is pretty much that as long as they all fit in the sink--even if they're balanced and stacked together like a game of Jenga--they don't need to be washed yet.  And, in that particular apartment, you could stretch your foot out from the couch in the "living room" and touch the kitchen sink--there was no way to ignore the dirty dishes.  

When we moved into an apartment with a dishwasher, both of us frequently joked that the appliance saved our marriage.  But, just as I've learned to pick up bits of laundry and misplaced clutter mostly without complaint, Sweet Husband eventually just started doing the dishes.

Until lately.  With the addition of putting-the-Kid-to-bed duties, some nights it's all hands deck and we can no longer be choosy about our chore preferences.  

And all of a sudden I've discovered that we have a view.

I used to love washing the dishes when I was a teenager.  Crazy, yes?  But we had the most beautiful view from our kitchen window, out over a golden pasture.  It was my job every day when I got home from school--to do the breakfast dishes.  No one else was there, it was quiet.  I loved the view, the warm water, and the grubby satisfaction in scrubbing off bits of dried-on oatmeal.  

I'm thinking that if I can take Melissa's advice--to look right through the window that needs to be cleaned...to not notice the chipped paint and the weeds in the garden--maybe there's hope for me and the dishes yet.