The loss of community because of dishwashers

By Luke Van Der Male | 11/20/14 12:56am


It seems to be the only topic on campus: dishwashers. And why shouldn’t it be? Before the contraption, dishes were just another chore on a long list of chores that everyone was waiting for their roommates to do. Now it’s exactly that, but less justifiably so. But what is the real cost of a dishwasher? Sure, your landlord probably charges extra rent, but that’s just money, and college students don’t worry about money. What has society lost in this newfangled appliance? What has the community lost?

I remember kitchen cleaning parties. Now that was a community. As one of two people in a house of five that actually liked the place, we would shout to each other that it was time to clean the kitchen. Sometimes, we did so, and it was a painstaking process of wiping and rinsing and putting away. We did, however, have a dishwasher. It’s just with five people a dishwasher isn’t enough, so we still managed to find time for community, just as I managed to somehow save my thesis from disanalogy. Yet now I live without this allegedly essential asset. And I have gained something in between the tedium: community.

A community is a group of people who do stuff together, but without the negative connotations of words like “gang.” Thus, by this definition, people lose community when they use dishwashers because it’s one less thing a group of people do together. Or don’t do together. No more bonding over how much you all hate that guy who lives upstairs and leaves piles of vegan-encrusted pans that smell like peanut butter. No more slowly realizing that plenty of legal adults are actual children. No more getting bored and missing a spot of God-knows-what but putting it back anyway. In what way is this worth it?

But I found my solution: dishwasher awareness month. Four weeks where college students give up the ceramic throne of dishwashing and come together as a community for community’s sake. The communal activities of the month will be increased tenfold! Communal dishwashing, communal not dishwashing and communal resentment. Just think of the community.

A bad community is like bad writing: It doesn’t talk about community enough. I’ve held to some controversial opinions in my time and I’m sure this is among the worst of them. But how can we pretend Grand Valley is a real school when so much of what I say is important to community has been lost?

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