Coffee mug mess

In both my work and private life, I often resort to the “put it down somewhere” method of filing. That method worked well enough when I was still a kid, when I had our mom cleaning up after me, and also as a bachelor, living alone, when I would be able to memorize where in which pile a certain item was located. Every now and then, I would get a bout of cleaning and get my room or apartment in order.

When you live together with a partner, you have to adjust, of course. One big adjustment for me was very similar to the problem presented in today’s comic. You see, I was socialized for 20 years to put dirty dishes on top of the dishwasher, because our mom would rather load the dishwasher herself, according to her personal system. I kept that habit. In fact, I still think it’s the better way of doing this, because I would just put down my coffee mug, plate, glass or whatever in passing, and when the right opportunity would present itself, e.g. when I’d waiting for something to be microwaved, I would put all the items inside at the same time, thus saving time up to that point and being more efficient while sorting.

Now I do things my wife’s way. That means, for every single item I happen to wander into the kitchen with, I open the dishwasher and put it inside. It’s not a big deal. In a marriage you have to pick your battles and this was not a hill I was willing to die on. But consider this: Let’s say it takes me six seconds (rough guess) each time to open the dishwasher, find a spot and put in a coffee mug. Those are six seconds I could already be on my way upstairs into my office or do something else. Let’s say I only do this four times extra per day, which is a generously low estimate. That would mean in 40 years of marriage I spend 6 x 4 x 365 x 40 = 350.400 seconds extra loading the dishwasher. Divide this number by 60 seconds and 60 minutes and you get to close a hundred hours or twelve 8h workdays extra time of loading the dishwasher.

That whole calculation hinges on the assumption that I would only really load the dishwasher in otherwise unproductive time spans. But on the other hand, I still think loading a dishwasher one item at a time is way less efficient than when you have a clear idea of which items you need to sort.

Weirdly enough, my wife was not impressed with my impeccable logic and math.

Ah, the things we do for love!

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
9 comments on “Coffee mug mess
  1. Quippy says:

    I think you are not completley correct on this. Fist the amount of time spent on loading one item at a time is so low that you can guess that this time is also easily spend somewhere else. You should not think that you are productive 24hx7. Theses seconds do not harm your efficency.
    Furthermore a dishwasher is not only loaded best at once. If you know where a coffy mug can go (top loader, left or right) you can already place it there – you do not need to know what is coming next to find the best place for it.
    And third: a dishwasher is a nice cupboard – you can store things in there out of sight rather than to put them on top of it.

    You might now guess how the roles are taken in my marriage 😉

  2. stef says:

    Note to self: Quippy is in cahoots with my wife!

    Just kidding … And while I respectfully disagree with your loading-at-once efficiency hypothesis, it’s all a very trivial problem and tongue in cheek, of course. 🙂

  3. Jan Olieslagers says:

    The really correct behaviour is of course to not have a dishwasher at all – or, worst case, to have one that can be fed hot water from a solar collector (much more efficient than those ridiculous PV panels that all and sundry want to force down our throats (and our wallets), politicians first and above all).

    I much recognise the original line of thinking – put things more or less where they need to be for cleaning, then when there’s enough of them, or no more room for adding any more, actually clean/wash. Perfectly efficient.

  4. Jan Olieslagers says:

    …and BTW I much agree with @Quippy that we cannot be productive all the time, and we shouldn’t try. Especially if one is an artist, or a thinker of any kind, it is very productive to be totally unproductive. Leave time for ideas to settle down, materialise, crystallise into concepts, perhaps even into plans. One can do that at the toilet, in the bath, queing at the supermarket check-out, but also on the train/bus, when stuck in traffic jams &c &c. No time lost! Time spent differently.

  5. Jan Olieslagers says:

    (and by the way, it is good to see Sally once again – she had been absent a long while, and I was missing her)

  6. L says:

    This is an oldie but a goodie, for sure.
    I wonder if there will be some backlash from this in future episodes. 😉

    With one of my good friends, we always joke when he says “my dishwasher’s broke again” and I reply “well, increase her allowance”.

  7. Fbs says:

    Is there a life before coffee ?

  8. ThisGuy says:

    Oh Hans, be careful there. Calling a women a “dishwasher” is a mistake you make only once. Hell hath no fury and all that.

  9. RG2Cents says:

    Hans is about to get his mouth shot off for shooting his mouth off…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *