Friday, January 6, 2012

November Norways of the Year

I gotta go wash something
--Chicha, Emperor's New Groove

There is one thing I miss a lot at school, that I always look forward to doing when I arrive back home.

And that is washing dishes.

Washing dishes is basically free therapy. There is nothing more soothing than sticking your hands in a sink full of fluffy soap bubbles and scrubbing dishes. Our kitchen sink looks out over our back yard and the woods, so you can just gaze out at the woods and watch birds and squirrels bicker and play by the birdfeeder. You can let your mind wander and daydream to the rhythm of the dishwashing.

Lather. Scrub. Rinse. Repeat. Lather. Scrub. Rinse. Repeat.

And the hot water chases the chill out of your body. I'm going to have atrocious skin when I grow older, because I always resist using gloves when washing dishes. My mom has attempted to persuade me to use them from time immemorial. But there's nothing more dissatisfying. Nothing can beat the experience of immersing your arms up to the elbows in sudsy dishwater.

It's so meditative and peaceful. A lot of household chores involve a lot of running about and putting board games back where they belong and turning on noisy vacuums. Those aren't very relaxing. But sweeping, or polishing the stove, or washing dishes are such tranquil, measured activities. You can get some of your best thinking done when washing dishes.

Or you can have the best conversations when doing the dishes, if you have a dryer who is working with you. Some of the happiest moments are when all the siblings are in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, and there's lots of laughing and teasing and yelling and roughhousing and bickering and water being splashed and brooms brushing by your feet. But once the hullabaloo dies down, the dish dryer and dish washer are left alone in the hush of the now quiet kitchen. And it's that wonderful time of night when people have finished their daily grind. They put the business of the day aside and begin to talk about whatever is in their heart. Secrets are shared, stories are told, and confessions are made over dishes. Those are the best times.
Or if you're right in the thick of a brilliant page-turner, you can prop up the book on the windowsill, and furiously read while getting some housework done. There are several books on my shelves that have the tell-tale water stains on the pages.

This is the contemplative life that is so particular to the domestic, that you miss out on at school. My friend and I visited her sister in Chicago one Saturday, and I was relegated to dj-ing the music during dinner preparations. But after dinner, I took dish-duty. And I ended up scrubbing that kitchen clean. Because, like retail therapy, cleaning therapy is also slightly addictive. You get on a roll, and you can't stop.

So if you'll excuse me, there's a pile of dishes in the sink that needs washing.


  1. First of all, I'm glad I'm not the only one who misses doing dishes whilst at college. ;)
    Secondly, I love your new design!!
    Thirdly, you have such a way with words..... if i could write half as well as you, my life would be made.

  2. oh, thank you, darlin'! you're too kind :) I've so enjoyed reading about all your college adventures! hope all is well xoxo

  3. Can you explain the title to me someday? Also, remember when we used to fight over who got to wash and who got to dry?

    Slash did you make mom mad and then write the post just to earn your Good Daughter status back?

  4. 1. Let me google that for you:
    2. Yes. Washing was the coveted position. You usually got it. #stillbitter
    3. No. I never make Mom mad. My Good Daughter status is irrevocable.