On Tuesday, the Splinter team had an internal discussion—a friendly chat, even—over what appliance those of us living in the amenity-sparse city of New York would prefer: A dishwasher or a washer and dryer. Lines were drawn and crossed and friendships were rattled. To settle the argument, we presented this dilemma to you, the kind reader, who responded mostly by calling Nick an idiot. Well, today you will have that opportunity once again, because the Great Debate rages on. In one corner, dish-hating Splinter staff writer Nick Martin; in the other, Public Laundromat Enemy No. 1, deputy editor Jack Mirkinson.
Nick: For my consideration of this question, I am focusing on my personal situation. I live in an apartment with no dishwasher and the laundry room is located at the end of a hallway on the ground floor. It’s not a perfect setup. This is a seven-story building home to a whole bunch of families and the laundry room amounts to five washers and five dryers, a couple of which regularly have “Out of Order” signs taped across them. But they’re there and I use them and they usually work.
My girlfriend and I also cook dinner roughly five nights a week, partly because it’s the only way to save money here but also because we both love to cook (still working on baking). Preparing and crafting a full meal, especially if it’s a new recipe, is my preferred method of easing into the post-work hours. All I have to focus on is not slicing a finger off or lighting myself on fire. It’s nice!
Having been in this situation for nearly three years now, I have never been sure of anything than I am the fact that there is literally nothing in this world that makes me want to fling myself out a window more than a sink full of dishes. That shit sucks! Once you upgrade your cooking skills and start realizing that there’s more to life than lightly seasoned grilled chicken and frozen vegetables, you get to eat delicious food, yes, but also, you have to start using more than one pan. Even if you do a one-pot soup, you’re still using two bowls and two spoons. Toss that in with the pan and two plates and two forks from breakfast and it adds up.
And do you know what? Some nights, we just want to read or watch TV and not have to do the dang dishes! It would be lovely if I could rinse these dishes and have them accumulate out of sight, to be washed all together at a later time. Instead, I have to do them in a timely manner, or face the wrath of New York roaches, or worse. The consequences, past just the chest-caving feeling I get when I see a sink full of dishes, are very real and very gross.
Laundry piling up? Who cares! I have made peace with a stuffed laundry basket long ago; I have no such peace with my dishes. Someone please buy me a dishwasher.
Jack: Let me first acknowledge that this is a very New York-centric discussion. Lots of people live in non-deranged places and have both a dishwasher AND a washer and dryer. But we don’t.
Here’s the thing, Nick: there is literally nothing worse in life than having to go and do your laundry outside your house. The lugging of the clothes downstairs, the dread that mounts as you wonder whether there will be a free machine, the agony of finding that there isn’t, the torturous minutes spent waiting for a machine to appear, the bubble of misery that piles up inside you when you notice that someone has just left their clothes in the dryer and now you have to decide whether you want to be that person and take them out, the jostling for folding space with every other poor soul condemned to the hell you’re living through—it is pure evil incarnate. Even if it goes smoothly, it’s a long, dull slog. And that’s even assuming you have a washer and dryer in your building! As it happens, I don’t. I have to deal with the laundromat, which is everything I mentioned plus a trip outside my house and up the street with a towering pile of quarters.
Even your own homage to your supposedly good washer-dryer setup is filled with heartbreaking caveats—out of order machines! Tons of other people! They “usually” work!—that inadvertently sum up just how miserable the laundry experience is.
Dishes are also no fun to do, I grant you. But you are still in the comfort of your own home, the process is over relatively quickly—much, much more quickly than the laundry process—and you can move on with your life. And let’s not forget that having a dishwasher does not actually absolve you of the need to wash the dishes. You’re still rinsing things off, probably scrubbing a little, just to get the dishes ready to go into the dishwasher. There is no contest to me about which experience I would rather avoid. The vision of just being in my house and just tossing my clothes and sheets and towels in the wash when I need, of not having hours of my life stolen from me for the simple act of trying to be a civilized human being...I could almost weep thinking about it. Nothing a dishwasher could give me will ever come close.
Where do you stand? Let us know in the comments.