Ten Percent

If, as the scientists tell us, we use 10 percent of our brains, and, as Owen Wilson tells us, we use 10 percent of our hearts, and, as I tell my yoga students, we use 10 percent of our lungs, then I’m pretty sure we also use 10 percent of our dishwasher capacity.

A few months back, I watched bemused as my friend Sarah loaded her new dishwasher with soiled plates. She’d scraped them, but not rinsed them, and when she caught me staring, she explained that (for once, she said) she’d read the appliance manual. It pointed out that the purpose of the machine was to save water and wash plates, and that by “prerinsing,” you were really doubling the water and the work. Since then, I’ve been conducting an ongoing experiment on the limits of my dishwasher’s capacity. It does fine with tomato sauce with no rinse. Even cheese is OK. Eggs do need not only a prerinse, but a good scrub.

Tonight as I loaded the dishes, I noticed the flip-down racks on the shelves. This dishwasher is much more sophisticated than I could imagine. There must be one hundred different configurations I haven’t considered. Ten percent.

Happily, I rarely load (and even more rarely unload) the dishwasher. Thanks, Wessie.

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