Mi Vida

The Right Thing About Wrong

Ever since I was little I had always been told the same thing, that there is a ‘right’ way to complete each task. It’s probably faster if you do it this way or smoother when you turn your hand that way but I was not permitted to experiment with alternative ways because it was wrong and it seemed that right won every time.

I guess it’s normal when your parents corrected your grammar or demonstrate how to use fork and knife but I cannot handle it when they told me that I had been washing the dishes wrong.

They’ve been doing it all wrong and I stand by it.

I don’t mind putting the dirty clothes into the washing machine but I absolutely hate going out and putting it on our clothes-lines. There haven’t been any real problem besides the hot weather but I just prefer not to show my face to our neighbors and have their questions bouncing on my head. Some are curious but some are just completing a nice little poll for future references. You can see it in their wide, hungry eyes gobbling the information and pretending to listen. That was the part that I dreaded the most. My mother wasn’t fond of it either because I was doing it wrong. Each garment needs to be strongly whipped back and forth, as loud as you can so that the crease won’t show much and I suppose that the wrinkles would be less pronounced? I have no idea. I follow her protocol (turning the pockets inside out, turning all clothes inside out to protect the color) but I could never muster the courage for the whipping. I was a rat ready for scurrying at the first noise of unfamiliar voice behind my mother’s cilantro bushes.

All other tasks are routines. Our hostels needed cleaning too so it’s something I can relate to. I was told that I can sweep the floor moderately. I can fold the crispy clothes when necessary though on certain occasions my mother would unfold it to refold it the right way, like she didn’t trust my hypotenuse because hers was straighter. Anyway I was always wrong in cooking that I am positively terrified in the kitchen. Most girls are anxious to help their mother in the kitchen but I am horrified to the point of having panic attacks at the sight of an onion.

“You’re doing it wrong!” her gravel voice digging in my ears. My right hand clutching a small knife, not knowing how else I could cut a garlic. It seemed so easy on the t.v but I could never do anything right that it was actually painful trying to be helpful. Like a hopeless person, I gave up. I gave up knife, kitchen and the hope of being a great cook. I imagine my life in the future. My husband and children starving while I try again and again to chop that damn garlic. It was either a chef husband or nothing.

Although I am mostly bad at other normal tasks, I am particularly skilled at dish washing. I love it to the point that I am committed to it. I am happy to wash the same dish more than 10 times if the same spots were there. I believe most people have trouble with that task and an invention surfaced to nurture this unnatural hatred at innocent (but oily) dishes.

I don’t trust that monstrosity of a dishwasher. It’s EVIL in disguise.

Of course it doesn’t take much skills to wash dishes. You rub a bubbly, soapy sponge across and round the said dish and rinse. Repeat. There’s no protocol like lash whipping a damp cloth or 90 degree hypotenuse folding or the right thickness of ginger mincing. It’s a no-brainer and I still receive complaints discussing my unconventional labor of love.

“Gawd, you don’t wash it like that! It’s going to take you forever to finish the whole load,” grunted my sister. My mother showed me how to properly wash a batch of plates. I admit that you will definitely finish the task way faster than I originally used to. I tried it for several porcelains but after she was gone I switched back to my routine. I hate every part of it.

This is how the right way to do it, as declared by my supervisors.

You put piles of your dirty dishes on one side and you rinse the surface with water. Start sponging the surface and the back as fast as you could and put it right into the sink. Take another one and repeat task. Stack it. Finish sponging the remaining and you rinse it all in one go.

I didn’t like it. It’s efficient. Saves money, time and water but I hate every minute of it. I was not even convinced that everything was clean enough. The stuff from Plate 1 will fall to Plate 2 and pile for Plate 3. Ew. Why is this the right kind of thing?

So I go back to my daydreaming. I take one plate and take off the remains into the bin. I sponge it nice and fluffy. I play with the bubbles. I feel the lather on my hands and wash it clean. I put both of my hands to check the smell if it was gone. I inspect the plate if there’s any oil or a smear. If satisfied then I put it on the racks. That’s one happy customer.

Next!

I didn’t understand what was wrong with it. The world must be mad if they consider only one right way of doing stuffs. I was happy with my own way of washing the cups and prefer not to try other alternatives, thank you very much. I thought about this for a long time and I discover the shocking truth.

People don’t actually like doing tasks. I mean they don’t enjoy it. They enjoy NOT doing tasks, relaxing. They don’t put their soul in washing some silly white china. So they figure out the possibility of doing all the mundane tasks in the shortest amount of time because they had to, not because they wanted to. This, is the ‘right’ way for them.

Maybe this is why I am so wrong in this world.

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