Sunday, July 13, 2014

I See... A Return to Dishes

Sounds like the romantic title of a new landmark three-part historical fiction novel narrating the meteoric, ruthless rise of an oppressed, bedraggled dishwasher from the working-class restaurants of Provo, Utah to the smarmy suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, right?

Well… kind of… 

It’s actually merely the romantic title of this Sunday’s blogpost narrating the meteoric, ruthless rise of an oppressed, bedraggled dishwasher from the working-class restaurants of Provo, Utah to the smarmy suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Back in ’82, before email and cell phones and word processors, fresh off my mission I worked 20+ hours a week in the bowels of the Cougareat at BYU in an industrial strength dishroom. I suspect that those fellow students who actually had a heart to break were heartbroken learning of the sacrifices made to graduate from BYU.  The long evening hours, the endless parade of food-encrusted dishes that had to be scrubbed, the dates and dances missed etc…

The dirty little secret is that I truly enjoyed the thoughtless break dishroom work offered. After hours and hours of big thoughts in the library or in class thinking of new ways to solve the world’s old problems, my brain got a break via the mindless work that cleaning dishes afforded. The luxurious diversion of squeezing other people’s leftover enchiladas or cold mashed potatoes and peas through my scrawny fingers cleared my mind and reset my thoughts; I was now mentally prepared to face another day tomorrow.

Most of all, the hundreds of thousands of dishes washed during my BYU days prepared me for 30+ years of marital bliss. My new wife was pleased when I instinctively stepped in to help her with the dishes, and was even more excited when this anomaly continued way past the first few years.  Years passed into decades, and I settled comfortably into my after-dinner role in front of the sink in the kitchen processing dishes. 

When life throws you curveballs, you still have to swing at the pitches. About seven years ago, circumstances beyond our control dictated that I pick up a second job, and through careful reassignment of our household chores, I was relegated to only taking out the trash and occasional Saturday yard work. No more dishes!

However, recently, with more circumstances within my control, I chose to spend more time with the wife of my eternities doing the dishes. It feels good to be in front of the kitchen sink again, scraping off fish taco leftovers and wilted salad parts with my bare fingers (real men use their hands!) It feels good to a part of the family again, doing the chores that inexplicably relax me.


Honey, I’m back!

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