Lives can be defined in many ways. A photo book, newspaper clippings, home movies, and even the history of our social systems on line can display all of our histories. The other day I was emptying the dishwasher for my wife and noticed there were few dinner dishes and a whole lot of wine and beer glasses. I smiled when I observed this because I knew the last few days had been filled with many friends and thus empty cans and bottles. The one symbol of our lives past that has been ignored because most do not believe it exists is the contents of our dishwashers. All of our dishwashers, the mechanical type and not the human type, can summarize our actions week in and week out.
For example, if your dishwasher is filled with normal dishes and glasses chances are you had a boring week. Chances are also good that you gained a bit of weight. If you look close you could also see what meals were memorable and meals that were memorable for the worse possible reasons. Those usually include the ones I attempted to cook.
Sometimes your dishwasher could be filled with every plastic storage dish known to mankind. These shiny translucent containers come in every pastel color that has ever been discovered. One of my biggest fears has to do with emptying this kind of load. I don’t know what I would do if I had one extra bottom or even one extra lid. Knowing the melting points of most plastics is far less than any normal dish or pan I fear a melted blob of blue slime covering what was once the heater element of the dishwasher could be discovered. Also knowing the fumes this type of combustion can and probably are very toxic. If that ever happens it would be important to check up on any pet or small child that was hopefully still living in the house.
Having one’s dishwasher filled with these types of containers means most of your meals were at somebody else’s house. This also means a lot of cooking was done and few leftovers were left behind. I’ve lost many containers and discovered multiple others I have no idea as to where they came from. I sometimes get a suspicious look from a neighbor wondering if I was the one who decided to keep one of their very special containers. I’m still looking for one of my favorite storage bowls I stole from my mother.
One of the more interesting dishwasher contents are various and usually large pots and pans. This means a meal must have been attempted because my wife and I were intrigued by an episode of ‘Chopped’ or why someone was burned out of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. Most of the time these large pots and pans never should have seen the inside of a dishwasher. My wife makes me clean them before they are allowed to enter the dishwasher or what I like to call our autoclave. I made the mistake of once grabbing the cover of a large pot forgetting the dishwasher just finished its drying cycle. Needless to say that particular trip to the emergency department at our local hospital was an interesting one. When I explained to the doctor what I did he just looked at me with a sympathetic glare as he wondered what type of medication I was on.
There have been times when my dishwasher was filled with coffee cups. To be honest, I am a great collector of coffee cups. I have some dated back to the mid-1970’s displaying various rock groups that are still attempting to play today. My 1980’s cups display deep statements or prose that to this day I have no idea as to what they mean. The 1990’s cups are my sport teams cups. They display every losing team I’ve ever cheered on. I have few to no cups displaying a team that actually won. The 2000 to date cups display many political slogans and politicians. Needless to say the ones now occupying the dishwasher never had the opportunity to serve.
The basic fact about having a dishwasher filled with coffee cups means you just suffered through a difficult time in your life. It could be financial problems or even social ones. Caffeine is the drug of choice for people who don’t want to go to sleep and thus dwell on the problems at hand.
The one symbol of our lives past that has been ignored because most do not believe it exists is the contents of our dishwashers. As with all our lives, the contents never stay the same because nothing ever does. I wonder what an empty dishwasher represents?