The title says it all: beware the insidious influences your friends can have on you. Attend to my words, dear readers, and tremble!
Grace and Howard never got around to buying a dishwasher.
Because of this oversight, they cannot savour the daily hour of music-drowning clank and splash. They do not know the joy and challenge of scraping plates and later seeing what food particles the dishwasher was able to detect and bake onto ceramic and steel. They have never experimented with the effects of caustic soda on aluminum or boiling water on thin plastic.
Instead, the hapless couple are forced to take five minutes after every meal to wash their cups and bowls in the sink. Their counter is eerily tidy.
Nor can Grace postpone any cooking, because everything is already clean. Her utensils are not twiddling their food-flecked tines, waiting for enough other dirty dishes to start a load. Grace has no justification for procrastinating, no plea of innocence, no way out.
And not only that! With ten cubic feet to spare, Howard and Grace are deprived even the commonplace pride of complaining of a lack of cupboard space.
You’d think this would be enough warning, gentle readers. But I’m here to tell you, that after several weeks this summer of gardening for Grace and Howard and then having lunch with them, I… I… I now wash my dishes in the sink too.
Yes, folks: be careful who your friends are. Dishwater seeks its own level.
Still don’t believe me? Then listen to this!
Last week, I caught Tucker in the act of cleaning his chandelier. Not only did he see nothing wrong with his mania, he actually apologized for not having done it sooner.
It’s been a whole year, he confessed.
Shame on you, I deadpanned. In my mind’s eye, I pictured the thick layer of greasy dust that coats the rabbeted edges of our white kitchen cupboards.
A mere two days later, in the privacy of my own home, I suddenly realized I had been influenced. Influenced? Infected!
On that day, E.g.’s work would keep her away until midnight. In mid-afternoon, I bought some E.g.-unfriendly, Dandyknife-favouring food at the Superstore. At 4:30 pm, I found my stomach growling. And yet, in my unfettered freedom, where was I? At the stove, tossing the kipper and a chunk of butter into the cast-iron frying pan?
Oh, no, dear readers. Forgive me…
I was upstairs…
vacuuming lamp shades.