Home > Kev's Blog > 24-Apr-2013 We don’t have a dishwasher

24-Apr-2013 We don’t have a dishwasher

Wednesday 24 April 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

We don’t have a dishwasher, not now, not ever. Generally washing up is my job and I kinda like it. I usually put on an incense stick and daydream or plan, or put on some music. With laptops and wifi I can now watch TED talks or other videos on Youtube. Maybe I am a cheapskate, or maybe it’s because we have a small kitchen, but I don’t think I am going to change.

I usually do the washing up late after everyone is in bed, although often I am lazy and get up first thing in the morning to do it. Whenever its gets done is immaterial, it gets done by hand!

I could probably develop this theme into “Are our household appliances getting too complicated?” as per this article in the Guardian:

Are our household appliances getting too complicated?
Who needs a kettle with four heat settings? A washing machine with a ‘freshen up’ function? A toaster with six browning modes? What happened to the good old days of the on/off switch?

As always someone elsewhere has written up the whole philosophy just so much better than I could ever express. Read it here. A good extract is below :

A friend of mine (let’s call her “Lily”) positively loves washing dishes by hand. She finds it so gratifying that she feels cheated when houseguests try to help by doing some themselves.

A few weeks ago, as I was turning on the dishwasher before we left my place, she said something like, “Dishwashers are what’s wrong with the world.” Something about that sounded right. I asked her to explain.

“Life is composed of primarily mundane moments,” she says. “If we don’t learn to love these moments, we live a life of frustration and avoidance, always seeking ways to escape the mundane. Washing the dishes with patience and attention is a perfect opportunity to develop a love affair with simply existing. You might say it is the perfect mindfulness practice. To me, the dishwasher is the embodiment of our insatiable need, as a culture, to keep on running, running, running, trying to find something that was inside of us all along.”

We used to have to spend a lot more time and attention maintaining our basic possessions. Dishes had to be washed by hand, stoves had to be stoked, clothes had to be mended, and meals had to be prepared from scratch.

Little was automated or outsourced. All of these routine labors demanded our time, and also our presence and attention. It was normal to have to zoom in and slow down for much of our waking day. We had no choice but to respect that certain daily tasks could not be done without a willing, real-time investment of attention.

My sickness led me to being reactive and mindless and so I’m going to reclaim a little bit of it back by un-automating one thing. I’m not going to use my dishwasher for a month. I’ll do all dishes by hand. Dishes have to be done, and so every day I’ll need to bring my immediate attention to bear on the soapy water and white plates.

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  1. Friday 26 April 2013 at 14:16

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