The Tao Of Dishes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Tao of Dishes
by A. S., Seekonk, MA

For several years, I dreaded the after-dinner hour. Why? Because that was the time the dishes were done. Of all the chores, I thought doing the dishes was the dirtiest and worst. Luckily, I was not the only serf in the house - two siblings joined me in laboring for the lords (our parents). The three of us switched off every month, so I only had to wash dishes four months of the year. Nevertheless, the prospect of doing the dishes remained utterly dire. That is, until this year.
When my older sister went off to college in the fall, my brother and I had to take on additional responsibilities, and I, being the oldest, got the dishes. At first it caused me nothing but displeasure; there were so many other things I could be doing after dinner - why should I still be slaving away? My day had been long enough, I thought, and certainly now was the time to relax, not do more work. but as I got used to the inevitable task, something I had never felt before arose in me. Instead of being a hassle, slowly but surely the dishes became a pleasure. Simple things like the feel of hot water and soapsuds made me relax. The half hour after the meal became a time that was just for me - when I could think about my day or ponder whatever else was occupying my thoughts. Instead of grunts of annoyance, I started to emit whistles. The sink became a sanctuary from the high speed of the real world, a solace from the chaos of life.
The real importance of this change lies in the lessons that I learned, right there in the kitchen. I realized that life just keeps coming and my chores will never be done. In the same way, every night I'd find a pile of dirty dishes waiting for me, and every night I'd wash them, only to encounter another pile the following evening. This has taught me not to dread the endless tasks of my life, but to accept them as inevitable. A certain poeticism is embodied in this - in learning to be happy with what one must do. It is a lesson that has been invaluable to me in dealing with my life.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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