Tuesday, February 01, 2011

When Technology Fails

Our dishwasher died last Thursday.

It's a Bosch, a hard-working, energy-saving, water-wise machine. I've liked it, especially the aspect of it that meant it could never leak water into its own wiring and set up a risk of electrocution, as the previous dishwasher could.

Nevertheless, the part that is necessary is on back-order -- possibly a flaw in the manufacturing of this thing -- and so for the next week, we do all dishes by hand.

That's not a difficult task. We never had a dishwasher until we moved to California in '85, never had one that worked well until we moved back here in '88. Of all appliances to go wonk, the dishwasher is the least troublesome.

Now I have noticed some things:

Dishes don't pile up in the kitchen, waiting for the dishwasher to be cleared.
Dishes are sparkly clean, with no junk residue, as people clean the dishes rather than neglect to rinse them before they put them in the dishwasher.
Everybody pitches in and washes/dries the dishes.
Dishes and pots and pans are cleared and cleaned after every meal.
More glasses and silverware are available at any given moment.

Now I wonder, why do we actually have that dishwasher?

Each time I do dishes, I think of Cheryl Haimann's poem:

Keeping House

At three, dry the forks with a flour-sack towel.
At four, dust the baseboards with an old undershirt.
At five, iron Daddy's handkerchiefs
and fold them into neat rectangles.
Mama prepares her daughter for a woman's future,
keeping house
like all of the silver and sepia women in her photo albums.
She can't predict a future of
interactive teleconferencing and data storage solutions
any more than her daughter can predict
a time when plunging her hands
into a sink full of spoons and hot bubbles
would be the most peaceful part of her day.

And I find a smile creeping across my face as I put the dishes, clean and ready to dry, on a towel on the counter.


Alexandra said...

Yes. Further, I enjoy being the one to decide when the dishes are done.

I never have learned the trick of remembering to come back when the dishwasher is ready, either to be loaded or unloaded.

Bernie said...

I have always enjoyed your blogging. You are able to describe life with extraordinary clarity and insight, as does Cheryl's poetry. The two of you together are quite remarkable.

Cheryl said...

Aw, shucks, B. Thanks. And thanks, Sand, for remembering the poem.