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July 18, 2004

Intuition « Rhetorical Questions »

I've been washing dishes since I was old enough to reach the sink by standing on a chair...about age four, I think.

When I was about 8 or 9, I remember having a choice of a dish to use to make a sandwich: a wet one from the dishrack that I could dry with a towel, or a dry one from the cabinet. I took the dish from the cabinet.

I remember I was slightly puzzled by my own behavior. With my years of experience, I knew that the cleansing was in the washing. Drying was a natural occurrence, but nothing would make any real difference in just drying, right? So wiping it off with a dish towel would be the same thing, wouldn't it? Just sitting in the cabinet for a few hours doesn't make a plate more clean, right? But I still took the dish from the cabinet.

It wasn't until later, after the lessons of biology class sunk in that I realized that air-drying does make a difference, since there are all sorts of microscopic beasties that can live on moist surfaces, but few can survive drought. Thus, air-drying gave time for all these germs/bacteria/microbes/whatever to die off before you used the plate. Sure, washing got rid of most of those, and I probably would have been safe using the just-washed, still-wet dish.

I find it extremely interesting, however, that my first gut-reaction was accurate, despite having no knowledge of how it could be...

Posted by Nathan at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)

Well, that justifies my way of doing dishes my whole life. I never wanted to dry the dishes, and when I grew-up and had my own dishes, I always wash(ed) them in the hottest possible water (with gloves) and rinsed in similar temperature water, and left them on the dish rack.

Hmmm, I do wonder if there is any reason for your choice or if it totally lacks any connection?

Posted by: Rae at July 18, 2004 10:29 PM

Are you sure you didn't want the wet dish because you didn't want to dry it? I mean, as a kid I probably would have opted for the dry dish, because it required less work. Just a thought.

Posted by: Jo at July 19, 2004 08:04 AM

I'm very sure about that. The wet dish "felt" dirty, somehow.

The sister I was paired with most in dish-washing duties (one washed, one dried) was two years older than me and far more crafty. When I'd wash dishes, she'd say she was too busy, then come back later after they had dried to put them away. But when I tried that, she would tell complain that if I didn't dry the dishes right away, she didn't have enough room in the dishrack, basically convincing Mom to not let me wait.
The only way I ever figured out to foil her evil plot was to come back later and spray all the dishes in the rack with water again...[grin]

Posted by: nathan at July 19, 2004 08:20 AM

That's funny! :)

Come to think of it, I always hate washing silverware and immediately transferring it to place settings...I had always justified that it wasn't really "dry" no matter how well I had dried it. I think you must be onto something.

Posted by: Jo at July 19, 2004 08:49 AM
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