So, my roommate and I have an unusually large amount of plates for two guys in college thanks to bundled packages from Target. As a result, doing the dishes is never a pressing concern since if we run out of plates, there are always bowls. Run out of those, there are always mugs and teacups.
We were at the point of eating spaghetti on napkins. It takes getting to a silverware drawer full of only steak knives and spoons for us to realize that we have a problem. However, closer examination of the pile of dishes festering in the sink revealed unspeakable horrors that my lovely roomie conveniently left me to deal with.
When battling against weeks of build-up, one must prepare. Taking a page from doctors during the Black Death, I tied a clean dishrag around my mouth and nose to ward off the evil spirits left over from Monday’s sloppy Joes. Knowing that far more foul things lurked beneath that frying pan, I stuffed the cloth with dryer sheets to protect me. A quick prayer and a kiss for my Saint’s medallion, and I was ready to open this Pandora’s Box.
The dishes went smoothly enough. They had passed the peak on the graph of how difficult is it to remove crap vs time. The pieces of marinated meats were hardened on, but they had already started the process of decay and were felled by my twin attacks of soap and water. Creatively stuffing three weeks of cutlery into the dishwasher proved a challenge for my Tetris-trained special reasoning, but some creative spooning saved the day. After that was done, there remained but one challenge: the pots.
There were three offenders. The sloppy joe frying pan only showed flecks of things I couldn’t identify. The saucepan used to prepare my creamy pesto last week was a different matter. Its surface was of soggy herb infused icebergs floating on an opaque white liquid. After seeing the milky chunks, I gained new appreciation for why so many peoples of the world hate the Kurds; anyone who would want to be named for such things does not have the right to exist. The third pot I could not identify, for a solid layer of something white and squishy had formed, sealing it’s mysteries with only a faint tomato-y odor to betray any clue as to contents. I decreed this must have been pasta with meat sauce, but I could not remember the last time I had that. I decided the third pot was the gravest threat and best saved for last.
Nature had done its job on the sloppy joe. The g-eagle brand sauce came back to life a little too much for my liking with the addition of a little water. Soon, its meal was but a memory to be savored by my garbage disposal. A quick dump of the pesto residue left a ring of the squishy white matter at the bottom. I turned the water on to scalding hot to burn my hands so they wouldn’t have to experience the other unfortunate textures of the ordeal. Three minutes of being thankful for the over-riding nature of pain, and the pesto was done. And then there was one.
I dumped the pot, letting the watery run-off of weeks of hand washing that had accumulated inside break through the protective seal. To my horror, specks of white rice emerged. It was not meat sauce; it was Zatarain’s red beans and rice. One serving of the stuff when prepared has 50% of your daily sodium, and there are four servings in a box. This stuff will eventually kill me, and I shuddered to think what primordial super-germ managed to survive in that hellish microcosm. I tried to ponder pleasant things and will myself into numbness as I slipped my sponge into the pan’s forbidden cavity. I scrubbed, I gagged, I nearly threw up, but gods damn it, I pulled through.
With three clean pots drying on the rack I loaded up the dishwasher with a cliché sitcom’s worth of dish soap and set it to “obliterate.” I don’t care if only the shards of my kitchenware emerge at the end, so long as they’re clean. I funneled ice cubes and vinegar into my garbage disposal to clean it out, apologizing profusely for what I had put it through. He rewarded me with clean smelling steam erupting from his gaping maw and an almost congratulatory grumble for a job well done.
My roommate, working on homework this whole time, said “I owe you one.” I punched him in the face.