I would apologize for my recent and repeated failure to post, but since that failure is brought on by my being in the actual face-to-face company of three out of the four readers of this blog, I figure nobody's hurting too much. Really, you could think of it as a kind of three-dimensional interactive blog that's been going on here on the east coast, with this whole being around people thing.
Anyway, I am thinking once again about household tasks and my relationship to them, a relationship always complicated by being in somebody else's space dealing with their stuff. It is in some ways easier to do household tasks in somebody else's house because a) you are not responsible for the baseline level of cleanliness and b) they will tell you what to do and how it should be done. It is of course mostly harder because you don't know how they want it done, you don't know where to put stuff away, and if you break something you feel like a jerk.
But all this is reminding me why doing the dishes is the best household task around. Doing the dishes and taking out the trash. They're both good tasks because they're finite. Floor cleaning is the sort of thing that you could do for seven hours straight and at the end of it the floor would still be dirty. Dusting is even worse. Dishes and trash are self-contained. You might have a lot of dishes and a lot of trash, but when it's done it's done.
Also, unlike some cleaning tasks, dishes do not require disrupting the normal life of the household. You do not have to lift things and move them around to get at the dishes; you do not have to hunt for special equipment. A sink, a sponge, some soap -- you are all set.
And then there's something kind of soothing about the whole thing: the flow of warm water over your hands, the repetitive movements. It's got a good contemplative cleanliness going.
Finally, last but not least, doing the dishes will get you proper social appreciation faster than any other chore. People may not notice the dusting -- dusting, generally, is only noticed when not done. But the absence of dirty dishes -- it leaps to the eye. And from there to the heart.
This post is a lot duller than I thought it would be, starting out. For that, blame the snow on the ground, my sense of virtue from dishes recently done, and a contemplation of just how much lotion my hands need. Also the presence of my loved ones.