Friday, March 28, 2008

Dishwasher - Pete Jordan

It was the subtitle of this book that grabbed me. "One man's quest to wash dishes in all fifty states" How could you not be intrigued by this premise?

"For twelve Years, I was the most prolific dishlicker of them all. From 1989 to 2001 I dished my way around the country, unwittingly searching for direction" Pete Jordan

I was captured - I had to know more about this guy and his adventures.

Jordan as a teen has no great ambitions. He gets into trouble with the nuns in school for listing house painter as his career objective. He falls into dishwashing by accident. At Jack in the Box, he fails as a fry cook, is no better at cashier and is 'punished' by being sent to do the dishes. Jordan discovers that this is far from punishment - he's left alone, has a radio, lots of eats. (Although I did find myself gagging as describes the Bus Tub Buffet - let your imagination fill in the blanks) Thus, Dishwasher Pete is born. Jordan does what we've all thought of. If the job has served it's purpose (enough money to travel to the next state) or he's just had enough,he quits -with no notice.

The book is peppered with references to dishwasher facts and lore. Did you know that George Orwell was a dishwasher in Paris? Along the way, Jordan starts a 'zine' - "Dishwasher" and his name starts to spread in the dishwasher world. Word of his 50 state goal spreads and soon CNN, journalists, even David Letterman, are trying to track him down to interview him. Dishwasher Pete isn't interested and continues on his journey.

He washes dishes in many different environments - cafeterias, restaurants, fishing canneries, oil rigs and the list goes on. The book never bogs down - each tale of every job and the people he meets are fresh. We see glimpses of a yearning for something more - the house prices in Kansas ($12,000!) give him pause. Maybe he could save enough to buy one and have a home base. That pull gets stronger and a blue rimmed plate that keeps showing up in the dishwasher with the plain white ones provides an epiphany for Dishwasher Pete.

Does Pete succeed in his quest? what is he doing now? I'll let you discover the ending of Dishwasher.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I couldn't picture myself every enjoying dishwashing, so I think I will enjoy just listening to Pete as I read :)