On occasion, in this blog, I make an attempt to go beyond my little stories of airplanes and the Air Force and address deep philosophical issues of importance in any age. But there is one topic I have been avoiding as it causes more dissent, more angst, more anger, and more personal attacks than any I ever discuss.
Considering this moment in time when political rancor and frank speech are at their height, this may be just the precisely best moment. In any case, it cannot be avoided any longer. Too many are still getting it wrong and more come along each day being schooled by the incompetent.
Yes. You guessed it. Today I tell you how to load a dishwasher.
First, don’t be intimidated. Remember, it is simply a robot shaped like a box. You put in your dishes. And they come out clean.
But only if you do it right.
No. You don’t know how. Shut up and pay attention. Really. I’ve watched you do it. (You’ve left your laptop open and it is simply a matter of remotely turning on the little camera. You really should put a little post-it note over that lens.)
You are so bad at this task when it comes time to pull the dishes out, you don’t want to look at them as you put them away for fear they may reflect the dinginess of your innermost soul. This, of course, is nonsense. Everyone has a dingy soul. But the dishwasher won’t help you with that. See a Priest.
So therein lies the rub, as someone once said. Friends and foe alike approach the task as if it validates them as a person. And any interference by another is a personal attack on their deeply held beliefs.
Don’t believe it? Simply lean over another’s work and rearrange a few bowls for maximum clean, and the wrath of the OFFICIAL LOADER descends upon you.
Of course, some are a bit more circumspect and are satisfied with a simple stink eye. But be assured, they are considering which poison might go best in your tea.
OK. Let’s get started. A competent dishwasher (which you will soon be after reading this) knows that the process is broken into three parts: a) preparation, b) loading, and c) unloading.
Like a beloved bed-mate, one must approach the machine with respect. This includes not asking it to do those things it was never meant to do. And just like not every societal problem can be fixed via Federal Mandate, not every item that gets food on it is best cleaned in the machine. There will be times you must revert to 19th century cleaning methods. Do so, and rejoice in the miracle of hot and cold running water.
For those items chosen for the machine, scrape most of the food off and move to the next step:
Do not approach the machine with the intent of duplicating the Consumer Reports Magazine ratings test. Your goal is not to write a review, but to end your activity with clean dishes.
You will find in a room of ten people that there are 2 dozen approaches to placing dishes in an automatic dishwasher. And each opinion, while it comes to mind, is passionately held. Bottom line: the water has to hit the dish or silverware and not collect there. Use your creativity, but don’t believe you have failed as a human being if all the dishes do not fit. Remember your goal.
There is one other action that is constantly SNAFU’ed. At the end of this step, turn on the machine.
But just before you close the door and hit the button, look at the spray arms. Are they clogged? Will they spin? Don’t cripple your robot with a spatula in the silverware box and then expect him to provide you with good results.
Wait! See that little red light? Stop. Put in the Jet-dry. I know. It’s a pain. Just do it.
Sometimes, no matter our best intentions, things do not work out as we planned. When unloading, eschew pride, put on your glasses, and look at the items in your hand as they transit from the machine to your shelf or drawer.
Some may not pass muster.
It is best to discover this now rather than when Aunt Mae is over helping you set the table for company. Little secrets can hide for a long time and only be uncovered when the entire family comes over putting, a strain on your capacity. This is not the time for revelations concerning your ability to wash dishes. Much more important issues must be discussed at family gatherings and it is always best they be about someone else.
So, in the privacy that only comes when it is time for the dishwasher to be unloaded, find the disgusting fork or the cheesy dish. And deal with it then.
I know I have been harsh. But this is an important lesson. (And, actually, I enjoy being harsh.) I only ask that you pass it along to the unschooled. You may try to be kind as you do so. But some lessons can only be learned via mutual red-faced screaming. Do not, as I have done, put it off for so long.