dishwashing, demons and drowning

They advance, their numbers a contingency for squirmishes on the battlefield.

Circles of white porcelain, mugs of the same, usually with traces of tomato soup or hot chocolate clinging to the interior walls.

Small simple white bowls suited to a single scoop of ice cream and their bigger brethren ideal for cereal.

Silvery stainless-steel implements with tines and sharp edges and curvatures, implements to ladle from giant pots, implements for flipping foods on the flattop or retrieving from the grill (spatula and tongs, respectively).

And the pots and pans and sheet trays, oh my!

Large and small, handle and no handle, scalding hot, warm or cold … trays of sheet metal easily accommodating 3 to 4 dozen cookies at a time and half sheets and hotel pans by the dozens … in a single day … the giant stainless steel mixing bowl with a circumference of a tot and height of one too!

And the wire whisk, why, you could whip up potatoes enough to feed a hundred in its partner bowl and still have room enough for potatoes enough for 200 more!

I am a dishwasher under siege and assault, sometimes by a trickle, sometimes a tsunami of dishes, flatware, pots and pans … plastic storage containers called cambros and lexannes and utensils of all variety of shape, size and purpose in a commercial kitchen.

And do I dare say I hate the job?

I fear to say so risks it being taken from me by the universe and I cannot withstand or endure unemployment.

Ever. Again.

Is it that I hate the job? Or am so fucking bored into oblivion?

I reckon that hating the job is to imply and assign some opposing attachment that is not there.

No, hate isn’t it exactly. Detest? Again, not the right word for similar reasons.

About all I think about during the 5-hour stretch of washing dishes et al, dressed in my white cook’s coat topped by cheap disposable apron of white plastic, surprisingly isn’t how did I get here besides through a nightmarish fall from grace.

Is the dislike — for lack of a better word — the dirty task? No. I am a taskmaster. Plus I didn’t have a childhood, rather a workhood under my father’s brutal slavedriving rule. I can fucking survive the worst, dirtiest or most menial jobs thrown my way. If there’s a task to be done, I’m your girl.

Is it cleaning up after others?

Fuck no! I’ve pretty much done that all my life in one form or another!! Nice when I’ve been paid for it (during occasional housecleaning jobs) but cleaning up after others is hardly predicated on pay.

Is it the dishwashing itself?

No. At home I love it. (p.s. I’d way rather wash than dry!)

Is it the prevailing looking down on dishwashers as uneducated, unskilled and in these times illegal? None of the dishwashers I know fit the description (and not that there are plenty who do).

Truly I’ve spent hours upon hours contemplating and probing for the answer to this ridiculous riddle of why this job, specifically, tortures, questing without satisfaction for something to occupy my highly intelligent and creative mind.

To date, I’ve come up with bupkus save for one single powerful word:

autism.

Everything about this job, from the physical layout that isolates from surrounding fun, frivolities and social engagements to the uncreative and unchallenging dishwashing practices, grabs me by hand and throat and leads directly into the Land of Autism.

Where I do not exist.

There are issues with autism from childhood that shan’t be shared publicly.

Autism is: an absence of communication with so much to express/say. The reasons, triggers and causes are too plentiful for a post; the reasons for mine, however, are known, to me.

This job puts me right back into that place.

But why this job? Why THIS job and not my other jobs as equally banal, menial and boring? (The warehouse job springs to mind but Minimum-Wage Meniality is certainly not limited to it!)

(All work and no play make Jack a dull boy!)

That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. Why is this job dishwashing different from the others (all things being relatively equal)? Why the drowning? Why the inability to speak?

Autism autism autism.

It’s all about the autism.

Existing. Yet no one hears you. No one hears your cries, your screams, your VERY HUMAN need for contact while horrible violations are being done to you.

You don’t exist because no one sees you.

I wash dishes for a living, ironically because it’s anything but.

It’s dying. In autism.

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