Did He Honestly Think I Wouldn’t Notice?

August 19, 2008 at 5:09 am (Uncategorized)

Sometimes I’m afraid I’m married to a child. Llew looks like a man. He certainly sounds like a man. And yet every so often he is nothing so much as a naughty little boy. I guess it goes back to his reasonably privileged years as the child of expats living in Asia. He and his brother and sister had a pretty good time of it, from all accounts. In fact, as I may have mentioned before on this blog, where most children argue about whose turn it is to do the washing up, Llew and his siblings argued about whose turn it was to stand in the doorway and yell for the maid to come and clear the table. It’s all relative, after all. Anyway, I think those years may have something to do with the way Llew tries to get away without doing even the most occasional household chore. Or perhaps it’s just him. Or his entire sex.

We’re supposed to uphold the time-honoured code of chefdom in this house. The cook does not clean. But sometimes it all falls apart because someone (not mentioning any names, Llewellyn) chooses to ignore his side of the bargain. This is what happened last night, and happens anytime there’s more washing up than can fit into the dishwasher (that’s right: neither one of us usually washes up at all, we both shove everything into the magic machine. You would think it would solve all arguments, but it doesn’t. It remains relative). Llew has several tricks in his anti-chore arsenal. Last night’s was a beauty, he went to the trouble of putting a whole new slant on it. I came in at one point and said ‘That’s not all going to fit in’ as he was busily wedging unlikely piles of saucepans and woks into the dishwasher. I can’t remember what he said – I’m not sure he said anything. I think he just glared at me.
‘You’re going to leave that for me, aren’t you?’ I persisted. There was no stopping me now. ‘That’s what you usually do. Which isn’t exactly cleaning up, is it?’
Thump, thump, crash, thump.
‘One of those always needs to be washed up by hand,’ I continued. I was trying to be helpful. ‘They just won’t all fit in. The colander needs to go on the top shelf. The big pot fits on the bottom shelf but the wok won’t. So are you going to wash it up if you can’t make it fit?’
‘I wasn’t planning to,’ said Llew, by this time clearly failing to appreciate my tips on loading the dishwasher. I started to feel like I was being ungracious.
‘Well,’ I said, ‘I’ll leave it to you. Thank you for cleaning up.’
And then I went to get ready for bed. That’s the small advantage I take from having cooked dinner: a five minute head-start in the race to the pillows.

So this morning, I walked into the kitchen and glanced around sleepily. Then my head cleared and my vision sharpened. There was nothing drying on the rack. There was nothing in the sink. Everything was scrupulously tidy on the surface, but still I knew something was amiss. I opened the dishwasher. Lo and behold, there was everything, crammed and rammed in there like circus clowns in the miniature car. I leaned in and tried to get the sprinkler to turn. It was wedged in tight and utterly incapable of even circulating. I may, at this point, have sworn. It was so over-crowded in there Llew must have forced the door closed. The bottom rack was completely jammed. I had to prise it out with a whole variety of tricks in order to loosen it from the top and sides of the dishwasher.

Now, there is no way – no chance – Llew wasn’t aware when he did it that the dishwasher would be utterly unable to run like that. That’s where the naughty little boy really came into his own. Maybe Di won’t notice. Maybe Di won’t see what I’ve done. And she’s lucky I’m doing it at all. Why should I clean up after dinner? Why can’t she do it? Look, everything is spotless.

I always have to unload and reload the dishwasher after Llew’s ‘helped me’ by ‘cleaning up.’ Usually I just think ugh, here we go again, but this time I actually paused and had the conversation, and then he went ahead and did it anyway, as if to spite me. Passive aggressive, as so many little boys and really all children (not to mention this blog) can be. That’ll show her, he perhaps thought as he rammed another piece of weaponry in. So in the end I had to unload and reload the dishwasher just to get it back to remotely operational, and I – the chef who was not supposed to have to clean up, because that’s the way it’s supposed to work – washed the wok by hand, swearing and cursing and raging all the while. And I can’t help it. I’m annoyed. I’m genuinely shat off that my naughty little boy knowingly shirked what little responsibility was bestowed upon him. It would have taken maybe two minutes to wash the wok – I daresay it took him longer than that to figure out how to crush it into the internal mechanics of the dishwasher, and yet he did it anyway. Anything but wash up. Aren’t there maids for that? Hmmm. Not anymore. This one’s going on strike.



  1. Llew J said,

    I’m really glad there are enough for leftovers – it makes stacking the DW really easy.

  2. doctordi said,

    You know what you did.

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