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Family, Life

A little comfort of home

03.27.10 | 7 Comments

Growing up we ate dinner together almost every night. Even when our schedules got extra hectic during high school, the family sat down and had a real meal. It’s something I admire in my parents, especially because I’ve gotten a taste of how difficult it is to balance life as a busy family. Often I saw them cooking together in the kitchen, my sister and I would set the table, and afterward, I remember everyone pitching in for clean-up before we dispersed, either for homework or activities or, on a pretty regular occasion, family game night. It was consistent, and a healthy habit that I want to continue in our own routine. (Thanks, y’all. Oneluvholla.) Zoe already likes setting the table.

It’s easy for a household to fill up a dishwasher every other day, if not daily. My parents would set the dishwasher to run in the evening after we were in bed or at least heading there. Laundry, in my memory, was done on the weekends, in the background of a still day, and the peaceful contrast of quiet after a good vacuuming always gave me a little zen.

I pinpointed recently that I associate the lulling, cleansing sound of the dishwasher with cleared, clean counters in the kitchen; calm, quiet, and bedtime.

Perhaps this is why I get a little ragey when these things are not done, or done in a frenzy. The noise is too much. Picture rush hour: too many cars, too many ads on the radio, too much glare from a sun threatening to set. Keys clanging, whiny pets with full bladders, fussy children because it’s just that time, cranky adults from a day of idiots and studying that still needs to happen. Meal preparation, evening television, phone calls/texts. Run the dishwasher now and you’ll be yelling over a hundred other noises just to ask a simple question. Right now, if the laundry room door is open and I hear the button on those jeans clank one more time, I’ll think only of the folding I have to do later and why, oh why, are the last three loads still on the love seat? When the buzzer goes off, it will sound to me like an angry driver laying into his horn. If central air comes on now, I will think about how it’s getting warmer and something really must be done about the summer electric bill.

These machinery whirs of modern living can be overwhelming amidst the daytime chaos. But at night everything changes. We’re in pajamas. There are just a few, unimpeded cars traveling in their luxurious lanes. When the dishwasher runs at night, the kitchen is closed except for nightstand water cup refills. The dryer is rhythmic. The fridge hums, and central air promises homeostasis. These are our urban crickets.

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