Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Dishwasher Door

In salute to Harvey.

This Sunday my 13-year-old piled her camp-bound luggage in the kitchen, and buzzed around like a hummingbird in anticipation of her pick-up. This is her first summer camp experience. I had mixed feelings about it all, of course, but mostly I was happy for her.

I was clearing out the dishwasher. There's a screw on the dishwasher door that I ritually check: if it gets loose, the door unhinges on one side and it's a pain to reattach. This partial stripping is the result of an accident that occurred six or seven years ago, shortly after I installed the dishwasher. It was late in a weekday, and my wife had just got home from work. The girls saw her and started skipping around. My wife came in the door, and my daughter (six-years-old, then) skipped backwards, right onto the open dishwasher door.

The whole damn thing ripped right out of its mounts, right out of the floor, the wall, the counter. There was my daughter with a baffled look on her face, sitting inside a dishwasher rack. I can't remember if I had other frustrations from the day contributing to my reaction, but I was furious. I clenched my teeth and very quietly asked everyone to please please please just go outside. My wife gently collected the girls, and out they went.

I doubt it took any longer than an hour to get everything more or less back where it belonged. I had cooled down a bit, but probably not enough. The dishwasher door was never going to be the same.

Back in the here and now, I was looking at the door and musing over how little I cared about its permanently flawed state. In fact, looking at that door I had a crystal clear vision of my six-year-old girl in her white shirt and blue jean skirt, happily skipping backwards in bare feet, arms waving, thrilled to have her mother back from work. If she hadn't collided with the dishwasher — and if I hadn't taken it so personally — I wouldn't have that lovely vision to meditate on.

It's funny how your mind sometimes works.


DarkoV said...

...and how wise you were as a younger father to direct all that anger inwards at the moment of collision.
I guarantee you that it won't be too long before she's packing for college and, as she brushes by the dishwasher she'd personalized for you as a six year old, you'll be hard-pressed to control your tear cycle.

Whisky Prajer said...

I'm certainly getting a glimpse of that moment approaching with gathering speed. So it goes.

The word verification is "thingize." Seems weirdly appropriate, but I don't think I'll be changing the post title just yet.