Washing a Friend's Dishes
What's the sitch with washing the dishes at someone else's house?
I’m usually a proponent of having machines replace humans whenever possible. Ideally, we would no longer be needed, machines would harvest the valuable enzymes from our tissues, and that would that. Things would be a lot less complicated. I think this is an idea most can get behind.
One realm where this is especially true is when it comes to washing dishes. I love dishwashers. I often wish I didn't have to expend energy putting the dirty ones into the dishwasher, but I’m sure even that simple task will be taken over by the robots soon enough. For now I’ll continue to eat dinner gathered around the dishwasher, eating off of plates already inside.
Where my strongly held beliefs do deviate a little bit is when I’m at someone else’s house. When friends purchase, prepare, and serve you dinner, that is great. And the obligation for washing the dishes falls upon the guests’ shoulders. In this scenario, I do have friends, and I am responsible for washing the communally-dirtied utensils.
Often, especially as an apartment-dwelling 20-something, my friends don’t have dishwashers. But, for reasons I will explain in the coming paragraphs, I don’t mind! I don’t mind washing dishes by hand at someone else’s house nearly as much as I do at my own.
This is partially because of the warmth of camaraderie and the joy that comes from being a small part of something greater. It wouldn’t feel right to recline with a toothpick and watch others clean after a good friend went through the selfless work of preparing sustenance for the group.
That is certainly part of it. But if I look deeper, to the core of why I feel the way I do… there is a more influential factor at the heart of my stance. And that is, these are someone else’s dishes. I’m not going to eat off of them again for a while. So… it doesn’t really matter how well I clean them.
As long as they look relatively clean, getting all of the tough gunk out of the nooks and crannies matters very little. To me at least. Of course I’ll use soap, and I’ll definitely give them a once-over with a green scrubby of some sort. But… well… I’m confident these dishes will be washed at least a few more times before I have to use them again. The crud will be scraped off by then.
Not only does this make MY life easier… wait, no, yeah that’s all that this is about. It makes my life easier.
If I were to really reach for a reason it is good for the group, I would say that the dishes get done faster? Because I’m doing a worse job of cleaning them? So, the hosts can feel that comfortable satisfaction of having a clean kitchen after throwing a good dinner party a little bit earlier in the night? And I can join back in the conversation a little bit quicker, which could be a good thing, depending on who you ask? But yeah, that is reaching.
I’m comfortable admitting, on this semi-anonymous, text-based, internet forum, that I don’t mind washing dishes at my friend’s houses because I do a less than thorough job. There it is. And I promise to always try and have a dishwasher at my place, so that when I am the host, my guests won’t have to admit to the same selfish thoughts, they can just throw the dishes in a machine.