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Draplin Design Co., North America
January 22, 2011
Old Dishpit Memories
Posted at 11:29 PM


Had a good visit with John Crews at the Princess Tours/Holland America train yards. John let me walk through the trains, seeing the new interior design of the cars, as well as fired up the generators for a second to let me stand in that kitchen for a spell. I spent a lot of time in those metal tanks. Lots of hours, sucked into that dishpit. Thanks, John!

Had lunch with old buddy Tyler Fanning at Humpy’s, discussing our old “blood pact” from the summer of 1998. More or less, a pledge to “not let each other die at the hand’s of some fuckwad server.” I would have taken a prime rib fork in the ribs for my partner any hour of the run. And making that pledge wasn’t easy, as Tyler and I used to be arch rivals, battling from dishpit to dishpit from opposing crews, on matters of “washing style” and “efficiency” in the heat of battle.

Tyler implemented a chaotic “no holds barred” approach to the onslaught, washing whatever dish that came down the pipe. Instantly. He kept a wild, but empty pit. Wash the shit as it comes in. Put it away in a frenzied series of drop-offs from one of the cart to the next. Shit flying. Stray spray. Wildness. Wham, bam! Kinetic energy.

Me, I used science to formulate my method. I figured out the geometry of the sinks, and figured out “what went where” for the most optimum placement of each size and shape that would come in. Then, I would wash a mess of like-minded items for each tray. Do a pile of plates, then cups, then pots and pans. That would cut down trips across the car, weaving in an out of the so-called chefs to put the shit away on the opposite end. This meant having piles of dishes in the pit at any given point, organized, in order, and ready to be washed. I kept a clean pit, and, wore a Walkman a whole lot, which was against the rules. But shit, those mixed tapes kept me alive, and sane.

I don’t know who had the better method, and I don’t care. We survived. I do know this, my second summer up there, I was asked to give the new dishwashers (and what a ugly lot!) a pep talk on “the art of the pit” to share some of my methods. That says something, Fanning!

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