Washing dishes is one of those things I do when I can't think of anything to say in that moment. Rather than fill space with mindless chatter, I'll get up and walk away from the conversation until I have something pertinent to say. Either that or you stop making me so nervous. I'm sorry but I can't explain why I have to keep busy all the time. I'm glad you think it's cute, but I'm not sure you would if you could understand why. What do I mean?
Are you done with that glass?

kitchen of Boorman House, standing on a chair made me too tall, but it was better than not being able to reach the sink. Steam in the air, my arms red up to the elbows. Sometimes I washed and someone else would dry but mostly I did it all myself, I volunteered. After dinner everyone would go elsewhere, hiding in their own corners of the big old dark house. I stayed in the kitchen, the little window over the sink showing me the mulberry tree out back, the berries sweetening the air even inside the house.

Introspective, a peaceful self contained time to run through familiar motions.

At home, to keep the pantry clean it is necesarry to do the dishes exactly after they are done being used. One slip and apathy sets in, the sink gets stacky and a week goes by in a second. I am like that. Barefoot if possible, water splashes from the old tap into the three times wide shallow porcelain then further to my shirt. Lots of shit falls down the drain, stashed for later I tell myself.

Away, a little bit of treat. Relentlessly, I do dishes when I am at anothers house when I dirty some, often a couple more while I am at it. It feels nice cleaning surfaces till the grit is gone, shining smooth again, an affordable rebirth. Easier with no pressure to do all or any. Take as you need for even the smallest will be appreciated. People tend to be messy and clumsy guests, it bothers me endlessly such that I am conciously delicate of others constructed environments.
When I am home, which is not as often as I would like, I have complete responsibility for all things dishes.

Rather than do them right after dinner, which is the time for the little ones' homework and the littler one's bath right there in the sink, I get up an hour earlier in the morning and do them then before the sun rises. While the dog sleeps on his big dirty dog bed, I hunch over the sink in a cone of rushing-water-white-noise and attempt to finish all the dishes in the sink.

Usually, I end up leaving a few dirty cups (I hate washing cups--my hand doesn't fit inside and I'm forever scrubbing dried milk out of them) to populate the sink on the left. I try to tell myself it's so the sink won't get lonely, but lets face it, it has a sink right next to it, so I'm really just making excuses.

Robert Heinlein says that, no matter where you go in a civilized society and no matter how unqualified you are, you can always get a job washing dishes.

My name is Loon, and I have an addiction. It's hard for me to talk about it... but... *choke*

No, no... I'm okay. I'll just spit it out: I wash dishes.

I don't have a job washing dishes. But every time I finish a meal, I have to wash my dishes. It bothers me when a dish of mine sits in the sink, taunting me with its contemptible dirtiness. I fight the urge, but my obsession takes over and I go to the sink and cleanse the dish of its ignoble filth.

I have had many problems with this in the past. But I am getting better. I no longer wash all of my roommates' dishes that are in the sink while washing mine. Well, sometimes I relapse, but there's nothing wrong with that, is there? They don't seem to mind.

But a problem I have yet to overcome is when I visit other people, they will offer me a drink or food, which I inevitably will accept. When I finish with whatever victuals the host or hostess have so graciously given to me, I will go to the kitchen and realize my compulsion once again. I see their unclean dishware and, to pay them back for their philanthropy in sharing their edibles with me, I wash their dishes. They insist that I stop, but my large stature makes me immovable to their efforts.

However, it seems that I get a lot more invitations to go to people's homes for snacks and meals. They don't seem to mind my little problem.

I don't know which is more comforting: the warm, soapy water in the sink, soaking my hands - or the drone of the never-dying flourescents which illuminate the second story bathrooms.

The hallway is dark, this is my space now.

It's quiet, even for a geek school, even for a saturday night. A glance back down the eternal one way street reveals generations of young men looking in these mirrors, afraid of their yet unknown daemons and scarily obvious fates.

Longing gazes are heavy, they must have left something in the mirror -

For I see the same thing now, leaving behind this craft in favor of linear algebra, binary logic and other such nonesense. Submitting to the flourescent humm, I return to my automated scrubbing.

These mostly apply to people who don't have dishwashers.

  • You don't need much soap. One 14.7 fl oz bottle of Dawn lasted me about two years. That is a little less then the volume of a SoBe.
  • The water should be between warm and hot. Uncleanliness will wash away despite your reluctance to scald your hands.
  • Only soap one side of the sponge. Inevitably the other side will collect soap; moreover you really only need one side soapy to clean well.
  • To get your dishes visually spotless as opposed to just functionally clean, apply a lot of pressure to the dish with the sponge.
  • You don't need to do dishes right after they get dirty in order to get them clean again later. However, to save time:
    • Put water in dirty cups and glasses at least an hour before you wash them. The water will mix with whatever is caked on to the bottom. (This is key for cups dirtied by milk.)
    • For plates, scrape off chunks of food such as meat or noodles as soon as you can after using them. Worry about the little granules when you have them covered with hot water and soap.

It is helpful to drop some soapy water into each dish as sort of a pre-wash, which loosens all those little bits and pieces of food. Washing in the same order as the pre-wash maximizes the average soak time.

Tedium is gibbed amusement.

Washing dishes in a university residence is a difficult task. Firstly, since meals are served from a cafeteria it is not expected that students will produce many dishes. Those of us who subsist largely off of soups and tea have an altogether differing situation, however. The above menu is imposed through the restriction of heating devices in residence at the University of British Columbia to just a kettle. If the sole hot ingredient in a recipe is boiling water and the instructions for making it amount to 'stir and wait' then the food is appropriate for a university life.

The lack of any sort of official food sanctioning or equipment does make it hard, though, to wash dishes. Like washing hands, washing dishes is an essential element to a strategy of avoiding illness. Hence, what one must do is to immediately wash used dishes in the bathroom using hand soap and then proceeding to dry them with toilet paper. This process is extremely ineffective for killing micro-organisms and so the next stage is essential. Boil water in your trusty kettle and immerse the contaminated dishes in boiling water for a period not under eight minutes. Since puny prokaryotes cannot survive (generally) such rough treatment you ought to remain typhoid free, at least for the present moment.

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