The Stages Of Doing The Washing-Up
A sequel, of sorts.
Day 1. Begin to avoid the kitchen. If the kitchen cannot be avoided, must be passed in order to reach more desirable environs, like the Out Of Doors, avert your eyes from the sink. The kitchen is now formally Unlovely. Do not treat it with love.
Day 2. Designate a particular mug as Your Mug. This mug is part of your body now, and may be reused for any beverage imaginable – coffee, yes, but also This Red Bull Is Still Good And Not Exactly Flat And I Can Pour It In Here, nicotine gum wrappers still spark-hot with aluminum and chemicals, and Water To Swallow Aspirin With, and soups up to and including ice cream. Rinse the cup out in between beverages if you like, but do not feel the need to strictly wash it any more than you would wash your own mouth before taking a drink. You are Your Mug and Your Mug is Your Mug.
Day 3. The sink is a place for stacking and leaving. Nothing more.
Day 4. If the sink must be addressed, employ a Tetris-based restacking strategy, drizzle everything with dish soap, blast it with hot water, and whisper to the empty house: “I’m leaving these to soak.” This qualifies as a chore, and no housemate, no pained-eyed pet, no guilty conscience can accuse you of chorelessness or task-shying.
Day 5. "It's growing and growing, there's more of it every day, if it's possible to speak of more nothing. All the others fled from Howling Forest in time, but we didn't want to leave our home. The Nothing caught us in our sleep and this is what it did to us."
"Is it very painful?" Atreyu asked.
"No," said the second bark troll, the one with the hole in his chest. "You don't feel a thing. There's just something missing. And once it gets hold of you, something more is missing every day. Soon there won't be anything left of us.”
Day 6. Today the stacking balance fails you. Leave the house, and take your dinner in a dark corner of a dark restaurant. Leave a paper towel on the soapy mess that has oversloshed the kitchen counter, as a sign of penance to anyone else who may still live with you.
Day 7. If you have a dishwasher, open it for a few hours – “to let the air in” – and close it sometime after sunset. Enough, now. Enough.
Day 8. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39).
Day 9. Throw something you need very much in the garbage.
Day 10. “Is it very painful?” Atreyu asked. “Is it very painful?” Is it? Is it very painful? Is it painful? Is it very? Is it very painful? Is it very painful?