When doing the dishes becomes a not-so-natural disaster

There are moments when everything changes, and in an instant, your world – or at least your kitchen – becomes a very complicated place. Last night, at exactly 9:43pm, something happened that made everything up to that moment seem so manageable, so innocent. It was something I’ve seen coming for years, “only a matter of time,” as ‘they’ say.

Doing the dishes after watching a documentary on the awesome perils of constructing the Panama Canal, my mind was full of hydro engineering, spillways, and human suffering – all of which would soon cross a continent and a century to turn my kitchen into a perfect diorama of disaster. Clearing the drying tray, I leaned over the counter to toss a Tupperware lid up to the top cupboard shelf, but it didn’t quite make the right sound. It was too loud, as if instantly echoed. Then I felt it, a cold, clammy liquid seeping through my long johns and woolen socks. I knew right away what had happened. I looked down, and time stopped.

Sure enough, my shirt had caught the edge of the George Foreman Grill (brim full!) drippings tray and yanked it off the counter. Brown and sludgy, the watery fat had exploded… everywhere. I thought of Panama, of the flooding and yellow fever, and I thought of the men and women who had battled far deeper demons than the greasy mess I was facing. But I couldn’t blame the mosquitoes, or the weather, or even the French, it was my own fault for leaving the stupid thing so close to the edge.

After a very brief (but entirely necessary) mourning period, I stripped down, tossed my socks in the sink and got to scrubbing. There I was, nearly naked, on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor, scouring the linoleum. In a moment my evening had changed from routine to grim nightmare, but compared to Panama, I suppose I really don’t have shit to complain about.

4 thoughts on “When doing the dishes becomes a not-so-natural disaster

  1. Omg that was very funny and vividly described! I thought spilling a mug of neocitron all over the counter and floor left a sticky mess, but Panama sounds way worse!

  2. totally awesome….you capture the moment….that sinking feeling…that, “oh good grief, did what I think just happened really happen?” great juxtposition between your dilemma and the battles of the Panama canal.
    Now my big challenge is to learn how to spell juxpostition. Rats.(thought I had it the second time)

  3. Thank you Rachael and Lynn! Oh, and Lynn, you’re a brave woman for even attempting ‘juxtaposition’ in a comment box – ok confession, I had to spellcheck the heck out of the word before committing it above lol.

    Rachael, seriously, the neocitron incident sounds gruesome, and I’m sure if you were taking the stuff you probably weren’t in the best shape/mood(sniffle) to clean it up. In our house growing up, spilling milk was the be all end all of calamities, especially if it got into the table crack!! I remember spilling it once (at 12 or 13, don’t ask) and the bro and I just jumped up and ran out of the room. So maybe I have some early trauma in the spillage area lol. But no joke, last night was beyond disgusting.

    I’m just glad Panama (American Experience – PBS) was around to put the whole thing in perspective!

  4. Pingback: How to survive life’s Tetris tipping points | Blank Canvas Living

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