what is “a lot of dishes?”

When people say “I really need to do my dishes” or “I have a lot of dishes to wash,” I wonder just how many dishes they mean. Because I’ve said the same thing, but a more accurate way of putting it would be “Almost every usable pot, pan, sheet, dish, bowl and glass in my house is dirty and sitting out. Some may no longer be usable because they were so bad the last time I looked at them that I set them outside just to get the stink out of the house and then forgot about them. I have more dishes to wash than I have the ability to wash in one day.”

Some people probably do mean that. And some people probably mean they have dishes from two meals sitting in their sink, which is a lot because they normally wash after every meal. I usually suspect people have less dishes to wash than I have and that they don’t really know what “a lot of dishes” means. It’s sort of a mean way of being charitable. “You don’t deserve my sympathy because you probably keep a cleaner house than I do.” As if they shouldn’t complain because they don’t know what true suffering is. As someone with mild to moderate chronic pain depending on the level or lack of flare, I know that’s a shitty outlook. Not being at the extreme end of a spectrum doesn’t mean one’s experience is invalid.

So while I still wonder what someone truly means when they say “a lot of dishes,” I’m trying not to judge while I’m wondering. Or to recognize that I’m instinctively judging and give myself a mental slap upside the head. Stop that. I am not the center of the world. (I mean, I am, but still. Don’t be a bitch. Even in my head.)

Now that I’m washing my dishes every day, I’ve yet to say “I have a lot of dishes to wash.” I know what “a lot of dishes” means to me. In comparison, right now I have “barely any dishes” to wash. I think there’s a cutting board and one pan waiting. Even the clean dishes have been put away. I’m doing pretty well.

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