It’s not that I’m saying I won’t do the dishes, it’s just that I can’t promise that I will. And believe me, I have every intention of coming home after work today and heading straight for the kitchen sink. Because, I know, I said I would do them two days ago, and then I said with even more emphasis that I would definitely get them done yesterday, and then when I fell asleep on the couch for the better part of last night, I begged, I pleaded, “Please. Tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow.”
And now tomorrow is today. And yes, I didn’t get them done in the morning, OK, even though that was my goal. But I still have until the end of the day, right? Technically I still have until midnight. And I’m going to get them done. But you want me to promise? Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?
I mean, I could think of a dozen or so reasons just off of the top of my head why I might not be able to get them done. That’s not to say that I’m not going to come straight home and put those rubber gloves on right away. But like, what if there’s a sniper? That happens sometimes, it happened in DC a while ago. Say people are getting picked off, and they can’t find the gunman, wouldn’t you rather I hole up at work? So in that albeit unlikely scenario, I wouldn’t make it home to do those dishes.
And I don’t want to break a promise, that’s just not who I am. Or what about a flash flood? It would the same exact situation as above, me not being able to make it home because of some sort of emergency. Tornado. Hurricane. Well, I guess not hurricane, because everybody would be talking about, making its way from the Gulf few days before it would hit here. But still. I said sniper, right?
Or what if I get home and the water’s out? I know it’s never been out before, but it could happen. What if that same sniper, what if he’s teamed up with someone bent on poisoning the city’s water supply? And maybe the detectives or homeland security, maybe they found out the plot before it was too late. But some of the poison made its way into the pipes, and so just to be extra careful, the city shut everything down. How are you supposed to do dishes with no water?
I guess I could maybe agree to a promise, but only if we sit down and go through all of the very legitimate excuses, however unlikely they may be, that would exempt me from actually following through. But, I don’t know, that could take a lot longer than we have, or I have, you know, time left in the day for me to fulfill my end of the bargain. Unless you want to add that to the agreement, one of the stipulations could say, “Unless we run out of time because we get caught up listing all of the ways in which I might be reasonably prevented from doing the dishes, including, but not limited to, this sentence.”
What if I die right before I make it to the house? Do you honestly want your last memory of me to be that of a promise broken? And what if that promise then chains me to this mortal coil? I’ll be unable to pass completely to the afterlife, I’ll be a ghost, a shadow of my former self, doomed to spend eternity futilely trying to make it home in time, before I die, but I’ll already be dead, I’ll be one of those ghosts that doesn’t know that he’s dead.
Do you really want that? And then years after you’re dead, you’ll be in heaven, I’ll be stuck haunting this house, the new occupants will have enough of my roaming around the halls, moaning out questions like, “Hooooney, where do we keep the extra spooooonges?” They’ll call up an exorcist, he’ll be a really powerful medium, I won’t stand a chance. What if I get banished to hell? Do you really think that’s fair? All because I made a promise to do one or two sinks full of dishes, a promise that the universe for some reason refused to allow me to keep?
Come on, just trust me here, I’ll get them done. And also, for real, where do we keep the extra sponges? Because, I know … I know you hate wasting sponges, but I hate using old sponges, they’re so slimy. Just … which counter, upstairs or downstairs? OK, and, that big lasagna pan, I mean, do I really have to scrub that? Or can I just let it soak? Because I don’t think I have that kind of elbow grease. OK, OK, yeah I’ll get to it. I love you to. No, I don’t promise, but the very next level down, whatever type of commitment that’s just slightly less binding than a promise, that’s what I’m committing to. OK, see you at home.