Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Play Music, Don't Curse Dishes

As a kid I was confused by the biblical saying, "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Of course it is, I reckoned, unless you were cursing the darkness because you couldn't find the candles. It didn't strike me as much of an injunction.

Maturity taught me the real story, that it simply means you shouldn't complain about things, but find ways to make things better. This all came to me recently as I washed dishes to music from a CD.

I don't mind housework, but dirty dishes is just one of those things, it seems like a punishment for having cooked and eaten well. I could unfreeze pizza and not have to work afterwards. But try to do right, and cook creatively with fresh ingredients, and at the end of it rather than be happy and satisfied, you have to stand up and wash things while looking at a wall. That is some darkness to curse, isn't it?

The other dissatisfaction of my home life is that I never listen to music. I love music, but I'm almost never home, and when I am, I'm either reading, writing, or sleeping, none of which go with paying attention to music.

You don't have to be a theologian to see where this is going, right? I got the idea to bring the little boom box from the west wing of my apartment to the kitchen, in the east wing, 15 feet away, and set it up by the sink. Then I get the Mary Lorson CD I have been meaning to revisit. Turn it on loud enough to overcome the faucet, and start washing dishes, in mindless motion, while full attention is turned to Ms. Lorson's excellent rendering of "I Don't Care," by Eva Tanguay, and her own collection of lovely tunes.

Candle lit. No bad feelings. Thumbs up for a solid injunction, and the maturity to understand and improve things. Where to turn one's attention next? World peace? Hydrofracking? Dust-busting?

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