My Dishwasher Anxiety

The loading of the dishwasher is a source of ongoing personal stress and anxiety. I need to share this burden.

image of an old kitchen sink for article titled “My Dishwasher Anxiety”

Photo by Jim DiGritz on Unsplash

The loading of the dishwasher is a source of ongoing personal stress and anxiety. I need to share this burden (again).

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The loading and organisation of the dishwasher remain the centre of significant and persistent consternation in our house. I wrote about this issue a few years ago, and little has changed, except that the dishwasher is on its knees, hanging in for dear life. The people I share my life with leave me in relentless suffering. I have dishwasher anxiety, and I need to vent.

The Dishwasher: A Metaphor For Life
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And I’m not alone in my condition. Here’s a text I received from my mate Dave the other day.

screenshot of the text my mate Dave sent me regarding the pain of the dishwasher

I feel your pain David

No matter how much I persist in showing the members of my family (my loving wife) the correct (efficient) way to load the dishwasher, they insist on doing the opposite. In fact, they go so far to the extreme contrary that I feel it must be done with purpose and intent just to spite and inflame my anxiety.

Knives and forks and spoons are mixed up, coated with food, and inserted upside down puncturing large holes in the cutlery basket. Do they think that little people jump out from the spouts with pot scrubbers to remove the caked-on food?

Hardly.

It’s the same with cups, glasses, bowls, plates, and all other manner of dishware and utensil; everything just gets fired into the dishwasher coated with food and with zero thought for proper organisation and efficiency.

It’s exasperating. I think this is my cross to bear in this world.

So I’ve decided that we won’t be buying a new one. When this one dies, that’s it — it won’t be replaced. I’ll fit a press in the space where it now stands, and the kids will have to wash the dishes by hand just like I did when I was a kid.

image of my dishwasher with a kebab skewer holding the door closed

Kebab skewer jammed into the top of the control panel to keep the door from falling down.

The machine is about 13 years old now and is barely holding itself together. The spring on the door is gone, and so is the catch that keeps the door closed. We use a stainless steel kabab skewer to hold the door in place. If you’re not careful, it can come slamming down on your feet. My 6-year-old daughter almost lost her life about two years ago in one such event. The door grazed her arm. There were a few tears, but we avoided an A&E visit thankfully.

Some of the rack wheels are missing, and the cutlery basket holes allow spoons, knives and forks to fall through. The power button failed four years ago, and I had to screw it into the on position. Oh, and the digital display shows only half the numerical characters so we can’t tell what cycle has been set. I still haven’t made any attempt to fixed it. I can fix it given my trade, but I refuse to. I could buy a new one, it’s not like dishwashers are expensive, but that’s not happening either.

So at risk to the lives of my children, the dishwasher will remain. I’ll resign myself to this toil, continue to take loading responsibility and as such, keep myself from the brink of psychological annihilation.

On A Serious Note

I realise it’s just a machine, a conglomerate of mechanical and electrical parts. In some respects, this modern domestic convenience is to be admired. But the convenience has become an inconvenience — certainly in my house.

These days I rarely lose the plot over the dishwasher. I suck it up, sluice the dishes and cutlery, and reorganise everything in the loading racks. Then when the wash is complete, unloading is more straightforward, and everything is clean. After all, that’s the objective right? Maybe someday my family will take the hint.

I’m the cook in our family — I enjoy it, it’s therapy. And if I’m hovering around the kitchen, I’ll usually wash things by hand as I use them. I don’t see the point continually using more and more dishes until the press is empty and the dishwasher is full. This, to me, is mindless, a symptom of our throwaway consumerist culture whose objective is to do as little as possible. To engage our minds and bodies in what we see as menial tasks is below us, and washing dishes, peeling spuds or hanging our washing on the line is too much like work — that thing we’re forever trying to escape.

We seem to value little that is demanding of our time and effort. Dopamine and serotonin, the drugs of instant gratification are the stimulants of choice, and we become caught in the cycle of dependency. We spend our money on conveniences, devices that are supposed to make our lives easier, when in fact they do the opposite.

More convenience, more assistance, more solutions to our ever-increasing desire for gratification, more crutches for our weak and lazy minds. More roads, more concrete, more candy bars and synthetic food. More ease and less challenge.

I know it’s only a dishwasher, but it’s killing us people.

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