Call me peculiar or dim but I take pleasure in washing the dishes. I like tackling a pile of greasy pots, baked on pans and crusted on silverware and slowly working my way through it until all that it left to clean is the sink itself. Yes, it is a basic, unskilled and menial task but nonetheless one that benefits me tremendously. It is a task where I can practice my patience, my organizational skills, and fine tune the ability of seeing beauty where others see unpleasantness. There is beauty in a job well done, no matter what the job. I obtain an immense sense of accomplishment when the last spoon is dried and put away in its proper place. The spoons are all together, each one resting one on top of the other with their heads all pointing to the inside of the drawer; the forks are all positioned on top of each other perfectly sitting on the downward hump of the one below so that the tips are tantalizing close to each other but do not touch; the knives, the most elegant of the three, all have their cutting edge towards the right; as if keeping watch over the forks and the spoons. The glasses are all towel dried and placed with the open face down, the coffee cups are next to them with the handles pushed to the right and back so that they touch the cup behind it. Only when the job is completed do I step back to the entrance of the kitchen, to critically gaze at the work just accomplished. I find satisfaction in turning the after dinner chaos into absolute tidiness; it eases me into tranquility. Are these Idiosyncrasies of a man that asks that jobs be done well? Or are they atypical abnormalities in a person that needs control?
I choose to believe that they are capacities, dexterities and coping mechanisms ingrained in me from my years working in the Central California vineyards and cotton fields. Finding motivation in a task where boredom is persistent is a necessity. It was the only way my brothers and I could walk up and down mile long rows of cotton for eight sun filled hours without seeing a single weed that needed to be hoed. Finding richness and beauty amid scarcity and dismay is rewarding. A vineyard in the winter is cold, bare and dreary. However, there is beauty in seeing all vines in the field pruned; it is their haircut. There is richness in a field that has been tied down the same way that there is a reward in seeing a lawn freshly mowed. And lastly, having pride in truthful and honest work is noble. Doing a job well for the sake of doing a job well in itself provides and strengthens the motivation, richness and beauty needed in life.
So, call me peculiar or call me dim but I take pleasure in washing the dishes.