Drawing Lessons: Dishwashers and Forks in Perspective I

Tines Downward (2009) photo: JParadisi
Tines Downward (2009) photo: JParadisi

     The other day at the nurses’ desk, my colleagues had a conversation about which direction to put forks into the dishwasher.

     I’d never given the topic any thought before. Hmmmm. Should I have a position on this?  Why has this question never occurred to me in the twenty years I’ve owned a dishwasher? Do other people think about forks and dishwashers, or  just nurses? Our one male nurse was not working that day, so I couldn’t ask him if this is a gender issue. 

     There were two opposing views. Some of the nurses feel that forks should be loaded into the dishwasher tines downward, because this prevents the tines from coming in contact with the fingers of the person unloading the dishwasher after they’d been washed.

     The second group feels forks should be placed tines upward in the dishwasher. That way the tines don’t get stuck down in the plastic basket holding them, making removal of the fork from the basket easier and more efficient. These nurses also feel that debris is better removed from the tines in this position.

     Hmmmm. I wonder if there are any studies on this? Are there best practice benchmarks for dishwasher use?

     Puzzling over this, it occurs to me that there is at least a third way to place forks into a dishwasher. They can be laid on their side in the tray in the top shelf of the dishwasher. They get clean that way, they don’t get tangled in the basket, and the handle is easily accessed to prevent touching the clean tines when removing the forks. 

   I am reminded that when I am presented with a problem, rarely are there only two answers to it.