I’m in love with Boris
Boris (sometimes I go all gooey and just call him 'Borry') is strong, sturdy, almost completely silent and reliable. He’s also sleek, efficient and very, very good at what he does, which involves occasionally rattling the ornaments but always making me very happy.
So, is it possible to fall in with an appliance?
(Figuratively wagging my finger at you, dear reader): No no, no, I don't mean that appliance used mostly nocturnally by the lonely and lustful - but a dishwasher!
When Love Chunks and I moved into our cosy Flemington abode this year, it turned out that the four year old kitchen held a fourteen year old dishwasher. Apart from being cream in colour instead of the suspect poo-brown of the very first dishwasher I’d ever touched, it had proved to be just as deadly and cast my mind back to 1988.....
I was single, sharing a townhouse in Hackney with two of my best mates from uni and still convinced that a shaggy spiral perm paired with a size XL hot pink t-shirt, white swatch watch and baggy cartoonish shorts were the epitome of style and sophistication. 1927 were going to rule the charts for years to come!
Me in 1988, still not yet smart enough to take the taco shells out of their plastic and holding the classic red 'Australian Women's Weekly Cook Book' from which I learned absolutely nothing.
The dishwasher was a chocolate vinyl-covered monster with bright orange knobs in homage to the era that fashion, common sense and interior design forgot (no, not even 1998) - the late seventies. However, for us it was only a few years old and certainly seemed a much fun-ner way of getting our plates clean than one of us doing it. Besides, we were diligent university students. We were much more focussed on drinking, finding money for drinking and learning to cook (usually in that order), and these pursuits left little energy or will for doing anything as sensible as filling the sink up with palmolive and finding the green scourer thingy.
Therefore, the poo-brown box’s first operation for us three girls was an important one: what luxury to have a dishwasher and how remote those arguments with my brothers about whose turn it was to do the dishes seemed. Jo, as the sexy-but-sensible geology major, read the instructions etched on the inside of the door and Fiona, the scatter-brained-but-creative writer flung in some dishwashing powder. I made all three of us my Tuesday night dinner specialty - toasted tinned spaghetti sandwiches with additional slices of cheese, washed down with an intriguing cocktail of WestCoast Cooler, Midori and diet coke. Heady days my friends, heady days.
Our laboured chewing of charcoaled squares of mostly inedible filling served only as a coincidental background percussion to the sounds of fury emanating from the kitchen. The windows rattled in sympathy as the machine seemingly sprayed, shook and blasted its way through the 'regular wash' cycle. "Jeez, I thought that they were supposed to be gentle on your dishes," I remarked, giving up on my sandwich and venturing into the kitchen for a look.
There were some foam and bubbles oozing out of the bottom but what did I know - that also happened when Mum put on a load of washing and the drain in the laundry floor vomited the froth back up. Tentatively, I placed my hands on the counter directly above the machine, noting that the volume had now moved beyond eleven. The formica felt hot, but hey, what did I know - dishes had to be cleaned in hot water didn't they?
My head was starting to throb from the noise, so I grabbed three bottles of cider and backed out of the room into our living area. No respite there, seeing as it was all open plan. "HEY JO," I mimed, "CAN YOU CHECK IT? IS IT WORKING OK?" She bravely skulled her bottle and did a rather good impression of a muscle-man swinging his arms in determination. Good old Jo would know what to do.
All of a sudden, the noise stopped. "Thank Packets of Panadol for that," Fi sighed. "At least now we'll be able to put on the telly and...."
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! CHUGGA CHUGGA CHUGGA WHOOSH!
She spoke too soon. Our few seconds of peace was merely the eye of the sudsy storm. It was decided that we three needed to escape the din and instead walk around the corner to the pub for a while. Several hours later we came home, full of spirits that produced a lot of good cheer. Had the dishwasher finally finished? Was the kitchen still intact? Yes it was.
Jo carefully opened the poo brown door of the dishwasher. Sediment from the detergent was still smeared down the walls and all over the glasses giving them a Christmas-in-July look. The crockery on the other hand resembled a basket of shattered easter eggs that sat mournfully in a puddle under the sprayer. "Stupid bloody thing," I muttered, giving the door a kick. Ooops - this last movement caused the three jam jars we used as drinking glasses to topple over and crack. "Er sorry Jo, I'll get you another couple...."
It was enough to put me off dishwashers for the next eighteen years until we bought our very first one in Adelaide. Dear sweet stainless steel box, I hope your new owners appreciate your skills and the added twist you’d incorporate, just to keep me on my toes. The Salvador Dali-inspired condition of the Tupperware lids even when placed on the top shelf; the wine glass with a perfect coriander leaf burned into the side despite not having used that herb for the past week and the angry rattle of pipes that caused Milly to start and fart in surprise as you hissed through the final drying stages.
Three years later, in 2009, I looked at brand-spanking new Borry's instruction manual – thicker than an IKEA catalogue - and left it where it was on the counter, figuring that a few well-placed button selections would see me right. After a busy day of eating (for Borry boy, you understand) our first load was ready. Love Chunks popped in a fudge-sized speckly blue block and I shut the door. We agreed to select the 'economy cycle' with the mysterious option of ‘hygiene’ (we like to live on the edge) and went to bed.
The morning dawned warm, balmy and bright with hope. Beautiful Borry's door was opened to reveal a gleaming top and bottom drawer full of clean, streak-free and intact dishes. Perfect plates, gorgeous glasses, nifty knives and terrific tupperware.
Blinking back tears - either from emotion or from sticking my head too far inside and bashing it against the stainless steel roof - I closed the door, leaving all of the magnificent dishware inside. I quickly looked to my left to make sure that Love Chunks and Sapphire weren't about to enter the room, and I gave Borry’s door a kiss of gratitude.
Reality then set in - I really needed a coffee, the dog was nudging my legs for breakfast and Sapphire needed her lunchbox cleaned and packed for school. What a bugger - I'd have to unpack the dishwasher.