On doing dishes

The best kinds of people are the ones who wash their own dishes by hand, right after dinner, without being told.  These diligent dishwashers would make the best roommates, the best lovers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters.  You cannot possibly be a bad person if you have the discipline to wash your dishes the night of.  I’d say that’s a fair judgment of character, right?

Unlike the lazy kinds who leave dishes sitting until the next day.  Occasionally, that’s okay.  But there’s a sadness to it.  The worst are the ones who delay washing until they feel like it.  No matter how great of a person they are, they make shitty roommates and are the worst people to live with.  That laziness is unattractive.  I never understood the dishwasher because even if I had one, I would be compelled to rinse the dishes first, then I might as well just wash them by hand.

My mom cooked and washed the dishes for as long as I can remember.  She never skipped a night of doing dishes, no matter how tired she was.  As a daughter, I rarely helped.  My mother made excuses for me:

“Just do your homework.”



“Watch some tv.”

“I can handle it.”

I took that for granted.  Little did we know, every time she picked my happiness over her own, her ethics of being a considerate, compassionate, sacrificing, hard working person gets rooted deeper and deeper in me.

Here I am, washing dishes.  A meditating chore, yet I feel a buildup of anxiety.  My day is over.  My evening is coming to an end.  I should be resting, yet I feel restless.  What did I not accomplished today?  I woke up, fed the cat, went to work, called my mom, texted friends, worked out, prepared dinner for myself and my loved one.   What is it that is not fulfilling my life?  I wonder if my mother felt this anxiety while she was washing dishes.  I wonder what kind of thoughts filled her head during all those quiet minutes.  Quiet minutes that accumulated into hours over 20 years of dish washing.

What unfulfilled dreams did you have, Mom?

I immediately tried to push this mind fucking depressing crap out of my head.  Just go away fucking anxiety.  There’s no reason for these feelings to exist and linger.

Yet, here it is, lingering, taking away the joy of washing dishes.

I take a deep breath.  It’s okay, anxiety, you’re temporary anyways.  I’m a good human being.  I’m a good person.  Why am I being so hard on myself?  Now is the time to wash dishes and I’m doing it.

3 thoughts on “On doing dishes

  1. I feel you. Such a mundane but necessary activity. I people watch, as my window faces the street. I can not stand it when my husband waits all day, drives me bonkers!! Hoping you find some peace soon.

  2. I feel happy seeing that I am one of the best people at least in the dish washing arena. Your day sounded very productive. Maybe the difference between your mom and you now is that she had you kids in her life which no longer makes it about her anymore. I always hear from people that everything changes after they have children. I have to recommend http://www.netgalley.com to you! It’s a website that offers books soon to be or recently published to the public for freee. I just discovered it…and there is a specific book, “The Worry Trick” that I started reading today. It helps this worrywart over here so it might ease things up a bit for you as well 🙂

feel free to share your thoughts :)