Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Day 7 - Results - Appliances
Appliances...there were two biggies that I will write about - the dishwasher and the clothes dryer. Facts: the dishwasher and the dryer were invented pre-1950, but after doing research on these items (which included many personal interviews), I realized that the were not yet the commonplace for someone from my socioeconomic background.
I can honestly say that I enjoyed doing dishes. Now, keep in mind that only my husband and I live in our house, and we didn't have any big dinner parties during the 30 days...perhaps my tune would be different in a different situation. What I did discover in my present situation is that doing the dishes by hand gave me space to reflect...or not reflect. Basically, the times I did the dishes was space without intellectual stimulation or noise. It was a very simple form of "manual labor"; something that in this age of technology, many of us do not get the opportunity to experience. And my experience was that a little bit of manual labor provided a nice balance to my body/mind/spirit...Our minds are constantly getting workouts with the volumes of information that modern day technology delivers.
Once a trainer at the gym noticed that I was using this particular arm toning machine every day, with heavy weights and many repetitions. His advice to me was to rotate the toning machines...one day work on my legs, the next day work on my abs, then the next day work on my arms. He said that because I wasn't giving my arms a rest, the arm muscles never had a chance to actually grow and strengthen. The muscles actually grew the most on the "off" days. I think that this idea can be applied to our minds...it was during the "off" times, such as the times I spent doing the dishes by hand, that my mind truly had the opportunity to grow and strengthen.
There was also the question of whether or not these appliances actually live up to their "time saving" reputation...in the case of the dishwasher, I realize that I only save a small amount of time using the dishwasher (again, this is based on my present situation). I normally give the dishes a quick rinse before putting them in the dishwasher, and I often try to unload them a little to early, when they are not completely dry yet. So I often find myself hand drying some of them as well. By the time I figure in these redundant actions that have become such a integral part of my routine, I actually save very little time by using the dishwasher. Along this same line of thought, these redundant actions also result in excessive water usage. I know I use less water by hand washing the dishes.
On a humorous note, I was really bad at washing dishes by hand when I first started to do so. I thought I was doing a good job until I went to dry them and discovered hidden, dried food under the rims of bowls and on the backside of pans. So I practiced...I really had to pay attention. And that made me realize that so few activities force us to pay attention. We don't have to pay attention when we write - misspelled words and incorrect grammar automatically pop up in red and green, respectively. We often don't have to pay attention when someone is speaking about a topic; if we are really interested, we go home and pull up volumes of information on the Internet. And we don't have to pay attention when the dishes are being cleaned in the dishwasher; we trust that the dishwasher is getting them clean. It was refreshing to have to really pay attention.
All the above can also apply to line-drying clothes. We rigged a line in our basement...Michigan weather is a little less than ideal this time of year for drying outside (although pre-1950s, many would dry clothes outside year round regardless of the weather) And it is true...clothes stay in better shape in the absence of the dryer.
Just as hand washing dishes conserves water, line-drying clothes conserves electricity. To what extent, I don't know. But my curiosity has been sparked, and I will probably continue personal research in this area. And because the clothes will stay in better shape longer, line-drying also reduced the consumption of the clothes.
So although I the project is over, I've continued to wash dishes by hand (I think I did run one dishwasher load when I cleaned out the fridge). I must admit - I did use the dryer after the last load of wash. Like my return use of the credit card, I'm not exactly sure why I felt the need to use the dryer again. Maybe because it was there...looking lonely next to the washer? I know, poor excuse...but really, isn't that why we use a lot of this technology?
Day 8 - Results - Food