Monday, December 12, 2011

A Shift in Paradigms

My sisters and I have a custom that has now assumed a surprising number of years of continuity.

Three times a year, in proximity to our respective birthdays, we go to Schuckers at the Olympic for a leisurely lunch.

Often, for me, that lunch involves two of Schuckers’ wonderful – Tanqueray – martinis.

Those martinis make me expansive in my world view beyond my non-Tanqueray world view.

They sometimes cause me to commit to things that I would not otherwise have committed to.

Such was the case at our most recent Schuckers lunch, which happened to be in celebration of my most recent birthday.

“Why don’t you come to my place for Thanksgiving” I heard someone say.

My sisters had had a subset of what I had had to drink, so the assent was uniform.

No importance was assigned to the fact that we had been talking only a few minutes previous about the myriad childhood nightmares that had been our Thanksgivings when we had lived with our parents.

I invited and they accepted.

On balance the whole thing turned out really well. 

But that is not what I am posting about.

What I am posting about is a tangential occurrence to Thanksgiving, and an occurrence which may be of world changing consequence.

The event occurred the night before Thanksgiving.  I had just loaded the dishwasher to its upper capacity limit, had put the soap in the soap holder and had performed the intricate sequence of button pushings and door openings and closings that have in recent years become necessary to make the obviously failing, and no longer available for replacement control panel perform the task of starting a wash cycle.

Nothing happened.  “No problem” I thought.  In the years that the panel has been in the process of ceasing to work I have had many such aborted attempts, and always, with a little creative clicking of buttons and openings and closings of the latch the thing has always started.  But on this Thanksgiving Eve such was not to be the case.  No matter what I did, nothing started, and the glowing green cycle complete light happily continued to document the washer’s final successful cycle.

The panel had finally died.  “It picked a hell of a bad time” I heard a voice somewhat like mine but with a hysterical timbre to it say.  That same voice then said a number of other things which it would be impolite for me to recount.

I thought seriously of calling my sisters and cancelling Thanksgiving.  It was only the completely chicken shit nature of doing that that kept me from doing it.  But I really had no idea how I was going to deal with the mass of dishes produced by Thanksgiving food preparation and consumption.  I wasn’t even sure how I was going to deal with the full washer load that I already had.

In a moment of quiet rationality a thought occurred to me.  “How did my Grandmothers, who never had a dish washer ever get through Thanksgiving?”

No answer to that question immediately presented itself, but at least it allayed for a moment the increasing hysteria that had begun to descend upon me.  And in that lull I became atypically perceptive: the real problem with hand washing dishes is not the washing of them; that doesn’t take very long, and the time can be occupied fairly pleasantly with various mental wanderings and day dreams; the real problem is that there isn’t a dish drainer in existence that holds enough dishes; so one needs to do a few, put them in the drainer, and either dry them, or wait for them to dry, the former being time consuming and totally unrewarding, and the latter being so time consuming that more dishes are likely to begin to accumulate before the first batch of the base set have gotten dry.

And it was that revelation that presented to me as a follow up insight the obvious solution to the problem: the now dead dishwasher was a monstrously large dish drainer.  And the totally inadequate one then became a sort of bonus rather than a tool inadequate for the task.  In total I had plenty of dish drainer real estate.  All I needed to do was pull both dishwasher shelves out – there was still plenty of room to get around it – and put the washed and rinsed dishes in their accustomed washing stations.  The only difference was they were drying not washing.  What a concept.

I have gotten through Thanksgiving and every day since totally content with my wonderful large dish drainer.

I have no idea when or if I will ever replace that drainer with one that actually washes dishes.  It’s funny how many more entertaining and rewarding things one can find to do with a thousand dollars when one has a perfectly good, copious and eminently serviceable dish drainer.

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