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Since I was three, I have enjoyed the most tedious activity known to man. If one were to peruse old family photos, one would likely find me standing atop a stool—favorite Scotch-Brite sponge in hand—washing dishes.
While my parents have allowed for the eccentric quirks of their eldest son and my friends have viewed me with amused stupefaction, I too have often wondered about the origins of my fondness for dishwashing. Dishwashing has an ineffable quality to it which, although hard to pin down, keeps me coming back to the sink no matter the occasion. Perhaps it is the soothing scent of peppermint from Ultra Joy’s dishwashing liquid, a family favorite. Or perhaps it is the onset of warm, comforting water that signals the beginning of a blank slate, one in which anxieties and distractions are all but swept away by the playing of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
These attractions, however, merely dwell on the surface of my peculiar love for dishwashing. The true allure of dishwashing comes to me in many other ways. It comes from the appreciation reflected in the eyes of those around me when I happily volunteer to do what others think of as a chore. It comes from a familiar rhythm, one that allows my thoughts to flow without hindrance or restraint like players, performing in wistful impromptu, freed from the constraint of an audience. These aspects create an intangible sense of freedom that gives dishwashing its flavor. And flavor is completely appropriate in this sense. I know of no other activity that leaves as distinct of a taste—one that engenders tranquility and service—in a person’s hands.
To be clear, I do not want to be a “Ceramic Sanitation Specialist” in the future. Indeed, many have told me that the pinnacle of success should be measured by wealth, stability, and prestige. However, the essence of dishwashing has come to embody my personal definition of success. After all, it represents the rare amalgamation of both enjoyment and service, traits I wish my life to exemplify. For to me, rather than aspire to fulfill society’s paradigm of success, I would rather adhere to a more simple principle inspired by dishwashing: do what you love, and do it to serve.
In retrospect, I am thankful for my peculiar love of dishwashing for it has expanded the horizons of my thought to a point where I have a goal that I can strive to accomplish. I realize that the community around me can not only be served but also served in a way that incites enjoyment and fulfillment. This is what I value most: to be able to pursue something I love while serving the community around me, and to look back on my life and realize that I am proud of my actions and am at a place where I can be happy. These are my aspirations, and no amount of grease or leftover rice will change that.
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