Last week a friend mocked me for washing a bowl before I put it in my dishwasher. She did it in a gentle way, and as I scrubbed out the dried tomato soup I admitted that I didn’t trust the dishwasher. Trust can be fragile in my world, and I can’t place full trust in a machine built by a guy who’s yearning for his break while daydreaming about his girlfriend in black stockings. Maybe I’m weird. Yet this was my friend who was asking me, so I didn’t mind sharing my mistrust with her.
A few minutes later, alone as I scoured a pot, I reflected on the romance of the mundane. Washing dishes seems about as mundane as you can get. At least it seems that way to me. But I was washing each dish as people brought them in from the den, so that my wife could visit with her friends and not have to face a Vesuvius of plates and flatware when everybody went home. It sure wasn’t dinner and dancing. It lacked passion, and nobody was getting groped in a promising way. Yet this mundane thing we shared had its own kind of romance.
I guess this is kind of Taoist. Maybe Zen or something. I wondered if anyone else had thought about this, and I found this neat article. It even used the same words had I thought of—Romance of the Mundane. It’s all about the simple, daily tasks and events that make a shared life, and how that constitutes real romance.
I admit that I’d make a crummy Taoist. I looked into it when I was young, and while it was cool I realized it was not for me. I could give some meaningful-sounding reasons, but basically I like stuff too much, and I enjoy it too much when things get exciting. Plus, if you’ve ever heard a Taoist joke then you’d know that Taoism require a consciousness expanded beyond my capability to achieve.
A Taoist joke, courtesy of the Hog-Tao:
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean, “accept misfortune as the human condition?”
Misfortune comes from having a body.
No body, no misfortune.
Which reminds us of a song.
Sometimes we amuse ourself at the Hog Tao.
But nobody knows.
Sing it Satchmo.
Therefore, while I’m not a Taoist, I’m also not alone in my suspicion that romance of the mundane does exist, and that it’s about sharing a life. Although it’s still nice to get laid once in a while, nothing says romance like shopping for decent produce and mint chocolate chunk ice cream. Nothing says devotion like putting your lover’s clean underwear away in the proper spot in the correct drawer. Nothing says love like working together to change the sheets because the cat barfed on them.