Sunday, October 07, 2007

more thoughts on work

I like the dishwashing job at Pendle Hill -- there is a good rhythm to it, if you're working with the right person, and you don't have to be too perfect. One person stacks the plates and cups on racks, rinses them with a spray-thingy, and then sends the racks through the washing/sanitizing machine. The second person stands on the other side of the machine and unloads the racks of plates and bowls, and puts away the cups, silverware, etc. The second person also provides quality control -- there are certain seeds and grains, for example, that are fairly persistent in clinging to cereal bowls. (When you work dishes, you start seeing certain sticky foodstuffs -- like oatmeal, for example -- in a whole new way.)

On this particular day, I was working with the right person -- L., who I have experienced in the past as a very helpful and nonjudgmental individual. I was unloading the dishes, and was having trouble fitting all the bowls into the proper sorting area -- there were t00 many to fit. So I just placed some bowls on top of the bread plates, and continued onward.

When I went to roll the dish cart into its place at the head of the buffet line, I realized that there was another slot for bowls. So I moved the bowls to the right place.

Writing this down, it is such a non-story. But I had this huge moment, because I was so glad that L. had just let me figure out where the bowls should go. Now, he might just not have noticed that I had the bowls in the wrong place. He might have noticed, and decided it wasn't a big deal if the bowls were in the wrong place. He might have noticed, and figured that I'd figure it out.

What I noticed is just how relieved I felt that I'd been allowed to find out where the rest of the bowls went. It felt great. There you go, that's where they fit. Look at that. Great. I'll do it!

It's not like if he had said, Dawn, there's more room for bowls on the other side, there, I would have minded. And again, this seems like such a non-story that I feel like I might start over explaining. So I'll stop. Tell me if it makes sense to you.


Anonymous said...

Yes, we don't know if L. was letting you learn, but...
A good teacher is one who allows us to learn.
A great teacher allows us to learn by making mistakes.
Only mistakes make an impression. Doing things correctly passes right by our consciousness, and we've learned nothing.
Of course, our "great teacher" tries to ensure the mistakes aren't devastating ones - just enough to get our attention.
So L. may, therefore, be a great teacher, and, yes Dawn, it makes a lot of sense.

Sarah Harris said...

I like the dishwashing job. That is all I had to read to know that Pendall Hill is having a big impact on you. And just so you know--for those of us who are obsessed with getting all those bowls in the dishwasher just right, your post was absolutely, for sure a story--and a good one. love you, miss you! sarah
p.s. I am sorry about your poison ivy!