The Dishwasher Wants Salt

So, you know how when your dishwasher stops working, you call the repair man?

And how when the repairman shows up, he points to the “S” on the dishwasher panel and says, “It wants salt” (in Italian of course).

And you say, “salt?” just to clarify, since you’re confused; you didn’t know the dishwasher wanted anything, or had the self-awareness to “want,” or that it even had dietary sodium requirements.

But now the repairman is looking at you like you’re either stupid or cruel for starving your dishwasher just because you didn’t know that “S” meant salt or that this particular dishwasher had a hankering for it.

Then the repairman askes you for salt and you ask, “like kitchen salt?” and he says “yes.”

So you open up your pantry cupboard and give him the salt shaker but he says, “No, sale grosso” which means “big salt.”

So you put the salt shaker back and give him the big container of Morton salt that you use to refill the shaker with.

He shakes his head again and says, “No, sale grosso.” Then he pours some of the salt into his hand and rubs it around with his finger and says, “Questo è sale fino,” which you realize means “fine salt” and you feel kind of stupid because you realize of course he meant big salt as in coarse salt, not big salt as in more salt. But you don’t feel too bad because you’re talking about feeding salt to a dishwasher so you’re already suspending all logic, and really, what does he expect at this point?

So then you remember you have a box of ice cream maker salt lying around because you bought it three years ago in a fit of optimism that you were going to be one of those moms who makes homemade ice cream every Sunday, only to realize that you’re only the kind of mom who wants to eat ice cream every Sunday, not make it, and honestly, you want it much more often than every Sunday, like every day, and that’s just too much ice cream making to sustain, so what’s the point?

And now it’s three years later and you’re handing the ice cream maker salt to an Italian repairman who looks like he’s going to call the CPS of dishwashers (DPS?) because of your rampant neglect (not only did you not feed the dishwasher salt it was so clearly begging for, you had it right there on the shelf the whole time. Disgraceful.)

Then the repairman starts shoving the salt down a hole in the back of the dishwasher you didn’t even know was there, or had assumed was for water to drain out – which doesn’t look like such a bad assumption now because the dishwasher is spewing water back out of the hole as fast as the repairman can jam salt in.

In fact, it really looks like the last thing the dishwasher wants is salt, whatever “S” may mean, because it’s spewing a heck-of-a-lot of salt right back out with all that water every time the repairman tries to stuff more in.

Eventually the repairman gets most of the salt into the hole (about a kilo, he informs you, as if you have any idea what a kilo is (although you did hear a news story about kilos of cocaine being manufactured in South America awhile back – but that doesn’t feel remotely helpful at this point, assuming the dishwasher doesn’t ask for cocaine next… and besides, you still wouldn’t know how to measure it anyway)).

The repair man stands up and low and behold, the dishwasher isn’t asking for “S” anymore. Now it’s asking for “*”.

“Brillante,” the repairman says. Now the dishwasher wants “brillante.”

Apparently, the dishwasher has had its fill of salt and is now demanding spot remover, which feels a little entitled, frankly. I mean, after all, if you’re ok with spotty dishes, who is the dishwasher to demand better?

You’ve had about enough of this apparently sentient machine’s temper tantrum, so you promise the repairman you’ll stuff it full of salt whenever it asks and buy it all the “brillante” it could ever desire (we’ll see how that pans out after its ability to publicly shame you walks out the door).

And now it’s just you and the dishwasher, its belly full of salt for some reason you still can’t fathom, and you’re wondering how long it will take the repairman to tell the landlord that the American lady’s dishwasher wasn’t broken, she just failed to feed the thing salt, like everyone knows you’re supposed to and you’re a little embarrassed, but mostly confused because you’re still not entirely sure what the hell just happened.

You know that feeling?

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