63: Six Parts of a Pot

63: Six Parts of a Pot

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Six Parts of a Pot

It destroys one’s nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being.

~Benjamin Disraeli

After dating for eight years, and reaching near-senior-citizen status, we find ourselves married and living together for the first time. It doesn’t take long for our cohabitation incompatibilities to manifest themselves: me, the fastidious, orderly type; him, well… the opposite.

A few tête-á-têtes lead us to sharing the household chores, beginning with after-dinner cleanups. The fruits of his labor linger on the dish drainer. Reaching for a washed pot to dry and put away, I see… fruit. Caked onto the outside of the pot. So I ask, “Honey, did you just rinse this pot and set it here so you’d remember to wash it later?”

He says, “Oh, no, that’s washed, hon. You can just put it away.”

The same conversation takes place night after night. Each time, I think, no way is this cruddy pot going back into the cabinet where it’ll surely breed salmonella and botulism. But not wanting to become a newlywed nag, I hold back my thoughts and rewash the pots — after asking the did-you-just-rinse-this-pot question, thinking he might eventually ask why I’m asking.

Weeks later, on an otherwise ordinary Friday night, I shriek like the Bride of Frankenstein. “Didn’t your mother, or your first two wives, or your daughter, or anyone else ever teach you how to wash pots?” It’s a rhetorical question, but he answers:

“No.”

Okay, it’s possible. Improbable, but possible. A problem-solver by nature, I assess the lack of training as an easy problem to fix. Falling back on old skills from my former career as a management trainer at the AT&T School of Business, I launch into a session of Pot Washing 101. I hold the questionably clean pot in my left hand as I point with my right index finger, like Vanna White showing us our vowels, and say “Pay attention,” as I point out the six parts of a pot:

One: The inside bottom.

Two: The inside sides.

Three: The rim.

Four: The outside sides. Five: The outside bottom.

Six: The handle.

“All you have to do is count to six to remember them. Make sure you put soap on the sponge, press hard on each part and rub until the food and smudges come off. Then rinse. Got it?”

He glares at me and mutters, “Yeah.” I want him to demonstrate what he’s just learned, but I cut him a little slack and let him get back to pushing buttons on the remote.

In the weeks that follow, it’s as if the training never happened. I discover that if I make a loud noise by dropping a supposedly clean pot back into the sink, from a height of about ten inches, I get a reaction:

“Leave it, leave it! I’ll take care of it!”

Twelve years later, the fruits of my labor unrealized, I share this lesson with new brides of all ages. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, in life, as in pots and pans.

 

~Marilyn Haight

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