My Family (a long time ago)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dish Art

“Who’s been using my dish?”

Standing in the middle of the office was a coworker holding up one of those ugly dishes that most people would be glad to see disappear from their home kitchen. No one said they had used it, so he went on to explain that he knew someone had been using it. How did he know? Because there was still something brown on the plate and he wasn’t quite sure what it was. So, again, he asked who had used it. He was standing where he could see a good number of people and still no one admitted they had used it.

“I’m watching your faces and your reactions, so I’ll know who it was.”

After not getting an answer, he went back into the lunch room. When I went to the lunch room to rinse out my own container, he was washing his dish and some other stuff that people had left in the sink. People were laughing and he was joking about it, too. He was even looking at the clean stuff in the dish rack and taking some of it back out and washing it again because it wasn’t very clean.

“Look at this stuff. Do you know how much bacteria is probably growing here? It’s like a science experiment!” He was laughing as he said it, so I know he wasn’t too serious.

One of the women in the lunch room asked if he was going to dry things, too, which started a conversation about whether we just wash or wash and dry. Seeing as there were only four women and five men in the room, I wouldn’t call this a scientific study, but it seems that men just wash and leave things, while the women wash and dry.

A few minutes later, another male coworker arrived and added his two-cents worth, and probably the funniest line of the day. He explained how at home, he washes things and then piles them up in the dish rack. But he doesn’t just stack them, he gets creative. He calls what he does “dish art”, and he went on to explain how he piles up as much stuff as he possibly can. He also purposely leaves items sticking out, and his wife and kids need to be careful when they put things away. It’s almost like playing Jenga; one wrong move and the whole pile is going to come tumbling down.

When I was a kid, we had a whole bunch of dishwashers, none of them an appliance. We took turns washing and drying them as part of our chores. After a day at our house, there were a lot of cups, glasses, dishes, forks, knives and spoons, plus a few pots and pans. They all had to be washed, dried and put away. I used to hate when it was down to the last item and I thought I was done, and then someone brought over more stuff, especially when they had that goofy smile on their face. I think they were waiting for just the right moment to drop off their load and squash my happiness at being done. They probably quickly went around the house and found anything that needed to be washed. Heck, they probably got an extra drink or two of milk, using a clean glass each time, just to make more. OK, OK, so that was me that did that to them – sometimes the memories get jumbled.

Even though our house was not the neatest, you could always count on the cups, glasses, dishes and silverware being clean. No funky brown residue left on a plate, no hardened sour milk in the bottom of a glass, and no leftover mashed potatoes between the fork tines. Mom and Dad would have never stood for that. Your coworkers, if they’re like mine, probably would.

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