Verbal Remedy AKA Denise

Verbal Remedy AKA Denise
Del Mar, California, The One That's In A State Of Steep Decline
January 18
Much preferred to the alternative.
Born. Grew up. Kept growing up. Started growing older. Still at both the growing up and growing older. Stay tuned.


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MARCH 15, 2010 5:11PM

The Drain

Rate: 34 Flag

It's not a big problem.

Not actually perceptible at all. 

Not in the short term.

OK. Maybe when you fill up the sink with hot water and soap, it seems to take longer than it should to submerge the dirty wine glasses and bowls and silverware. It takes a long time. So long that steam rising from the sink produces enough vapor to gather on nearby glassware, condensing into a water veil.

But eventually the sink does fill, and the soap and the heat start doing their business, breaking it all down. Attacking things that cloud what  should be clear, darken what should be bright, dull what should be shiny.

You plunge a sponge into the water--ooooh, that's hot. Too hot. Just barely too hot. Your hands snap back out clutching a dripping, soapy stem, your fingers red as radishes. And you begin to wash.

The phone rings.

You check the ID--no, putting this call off is not an option. It's a friend who really needs to talk. Now.

So you answer.

Clamping the phone tightly between your cheekbone and your shoulder, you rinse that lone glass, grab a towel, dry your hands. Take the conversation to a place more conducive to listening. Open a new pack of cigarettes. Light one.




"Mmm hmmm. Uhm-hmmmm. Yes. I hear you. I understand. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. Do you? No. Uhmmm-hmmmm. Oh. Damn. I'm sorry to hear that.  Hmmm. Mmmm-hmmm. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know..."




An ashtray full butts later, a sweet milky smoke-haze hovers up around the ceiling.

No mysteries have been solved, no decisions made, no actions planned, no intervention held.

Just a conversation, and that only if you consider your own vocal placeholders to be half of a conversation.

Sometimes you think they are.

Others, not.

You return to the sink.

It is nearly empty. And cold.

A leak--one tiny, imperceptible gap somewhere between an imperfectly formed gasket and/or an irregular drain wall--has allowed the soapy water to escape.

Everything is cold.

Even the sink.

How could this happen so quickly, you wonder.  You check the clock. Hm. You were away longer than you'd thought. But still. When you walk away for a short time leaving a sinkful of water, you don't expect to come back to empty.

The dirty, slippery things that had begun to loosen and separate have resettled, merged into a whole new form of scum born from the mixture of formerly segregated soils.

It's a bigger mess than when you started.

You could move everything to the other side of the sink.

Hope it holds water better.

Start fresh.

But no.

No, for some reason, you don't.

The leak, after all, you reason, is slow. It's small.

This time you'll surely finish before the water disappears.


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Been there. Moved them to the other side and back again. Played tag in the sink watching the bubbles slowly dissolve lost in thought.

Good daily-ism here. Cheers,
Wow, damn you're good. You can do a post out of washing the dishes. And I tell you, I wanted a cigarette too and I havn't smoked in 25 years!!
I just use a flat sink stopper

I suppose that isn't the point of this story.

I loved how you suspended time here, even if your sink was leaking it.
Sure . . . you say it's about doing dishes. I like the way you think. Wisdom in daily life. Well done. Really well done.
OK, damn. You know how to write. Jeez Louise.

That break for the phone, the words! the cigarette. The decription of the congealed stuff in the cold empty sink. DAMN.

Anything Denise. Anything at all. Take a Michelin Tire re-tread coupon ad from the back of the penny saver and re-write it. Just let me know where and when you posted it and I will be there.

dah-yumm, Denise.
I've been contemplating a post called "The Toilet Lid". Now I HAVE to do it. :-D I really liked this. It evokes old memories of when my mom used to do dishes in the sink when I was a child. Now that we have a dishwasher, we never fill the sink up when pre-cleaning.
Why was this so calming? Great job!
it's sometimes easier to deal with the big things, isn't it, that require bold action, than the ones that are nearly imperceptible in the short term? this reminds me of a pinhole i have in one of the chambers of my heart.

great writing, denise. one of my favs, this.
Yeah, start fresh, but you don't!

Good read.

I swear to high heaven, it did literally happen. Any further parallels between the simultaneously slow/sudden death of the dishwater and anything else in the world up to and including marriages/relatioships?

Well, maybe.


Greg, a tire retread? Oh, boy. There was this one time...on a really hot day...on the 405 heading south...let's just say great regrets were had about choosing retread vs. new tires. :-)
A good metaphor for housework, which I loathe.
THIS is why there is a small blue bucket under my sink. I hear ya.
I guess putting the dishes on the ground and having the dog lick them clean isn't much of a solution...unless you feed him Palmolive first. Hmmm...I may have to get a dog...
really loved this one Denise
Maid's day off? Kidding of course. You could, of course, get a new sink dealie for about 12 or 15 bucks or one of those flat ones like Carraway suggested, but then you might be tempted to leave the dishes soaking forever 'til the water turns cold and the bubbles go flat anyway... like I do.

Very nice moment of your life.
Am I the only one who feels sorry for Denise because she has no dishwasher? Priorities, people!
It's a bigger mess than when you started.
Exactly and Impossible at the same time.
Well said.
Mom would tell you this was a sign to move to serving everything in paper coffee filters.
Um. . plastic dishpan. Holds water real good. But then we wouldn't have your nice post.
LOL, Lisa. That's what I was thinking.
But, most excellent writing. (as always)
Pity me not. I have a dishwasher. Some things just are too large, too filthy, or too delicate to throw on automatic. :-)
Extraordinary writing about the ordinary. Though totally different, it reminds me of Bob Dylan's "The Clothesline Song" about bringing in the laundry. Or maybe he was helping to hang it out. "Then we went inside and shut all the doors."
It a rule of some sort that the water will be cold when you return, should you walk away for any reason. No explanation for the leak though. ;)
"Mmm hmmm. Uhm-hmmmm. Yes. I hear you. I understand. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. Do you? No. Uhmmm-hmmmm. Oh. Damn. I'm sorry to hear that. Hmmm. Mmmm-hmmm. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know..."

I recognize that conversation! What I really hate though is when hair clogs the P-trap on my vanity sink, and it drains slower and slower over a period of many months, 'til eventually you have to get up under there and take it loose and ~ugh~ fish all that soggy hair out of there like you're in a scene from "The Ring" or something, and even though it drains OK for a while you know that in a half a year or so you'll be under there again, taking off that foul P-trap and fishing more hairs that will never grow back, 'cause you're getting OLDer and BALDer every year, and CHRIST I hate plumbing:P
What Greg said. I told you so.........
It's important for things to be the right temperature. I think she certainly deserves to have her hands in water that's the perfect temperature.

Then doing dishes is sort of fun. And a person doesn't need the smoke breaks.

Great writing here.
So the scum was worse cold and congealed. How was the person on the other end of the phone after the discussion? :)
Now multiply that leaking seal you have by 10 x Nth, and you have the Challenger disaster. Just trying to help you keep things in perspective.

PS Cigarette smoke is very harmful to rubber seals -- and lungs
a lovely metaphor for a lot more of life than just the washing up.
All things, groups and individuals usually are entitled to a second chance.
Denise, as Trig suggested, I've given in to the worst sort of temptation and just left them there to do themselves as they get switched back and forth from one side to another. I'm off for a t/c and a drink now ... ::ring ring:: (VR is that you?)
Denise- I am again in awe of your scintillating certain creative genes skip a generation, I wonder? ;0)
On a lighter note, this one reminded me of a joke about our old stomping ground, Kirksville/Ottumwa:
After checking into the local-yokel motel, a man discovers a plumbing issue. He calls the front desk and in a highly annoyed tone, announces, "I gotta leak in my sink."
Desk clerk reply, "Go ahead."
I use the biggest container that I cooked in, then wash everything, then put it in the dishwasher, so that I can run it once or twice a week.

This is so much like my life.
OK - well I definitely did not want a cigarette but the metaphor...Woman! Fabulous - this is sheer poetry - no moving around is going to hold water... got to start fresh!
I have that sink as well. No cap seems to fit it properly. One day, I will own a sink with properly fitted caps.

One day.
Yeah. I remember now. This is how fluently I'd like to write.