Interview With… is a Zikoko weekly series that explores the weird and interesting lives of inanimate objects and non-human entities.
Dishwashing Liquid has been doing the Lord’s work in millions of kitchens all around Nigeria for many years, but it hasn’t really been given a platform to speak openly about its experiences.
Thankfully, we got a chance to sit down with the elusive cleaning agent, and it opened up about how being constantly diluted with water by so many of its employers makes it feel.
Zikoko: Hello. It’s great to have you here.
Dishwashing Liquid: Thank you. I’m glad I get to do this. I read the eye-opening interview you did with my colleague, Cooking Gas, and I told my manager that I just had to sit with you.
I appreciate that. So, let’s get right into it. What’s it like working for Nigerians?
It’s like a toxic relationship; it always starts off good. I help them clean all their dirty dishes, and I don’t even complain when it’s semo they just ate. I mean, I don’t have taste buds and even I can tell that thing is disgusting.
Wait. What exactly makes the work environment toxic? Besides the semo?
They don’t seem to know when to let me go. I would have been working with them for a few good months, clearly on my last legs, and all of a sudden: they dilute me with water.
Is that an issue?
Not initially. Look, I understand how great I am. I understand someone wanting me to be around a little longer. It doesn’t really become an issue until they are diluting me for the third time in one month.
Has this always been the case?
It tends to get worse as they get older. When they’re younger, they see how ridiculous it all is. They even make fun of their parents for doing it to me. As soon as they hit 25, they begin to do the exact same thing.
Yes. Like, all my colour has gone and I’m not even soapy anymore, but they still won’t free me. They might as well be washing their dishes with water straight from the tap at that point.
I don’t even want to get started on how bad it is in Nigerian restaurants and eateries. Those ones don’t have a conscience. They even give me extra work as a handwash in some places. That is not my job.
I can see how that could be frustrating.
It’s been worse this past couple of months. With the pandemic, people are cooking and eating a lot more. That means I’m washing more plates and getting diluted more frequently. It’s a nightmare.
What kind of life would you prefer?
I’d like to carry out my duties for a few months. Then they can dilute me once or twice if money is tough. After that, they need to hire one of my unused siblings and let me rest in peace in that big dustbin in the sky.
Before we go, is there anything you’d like Nigerians to know?
A few drops of me will do the trick. No need to use a quarter of me to wash one plate. Maybe if everyone stopped overdoing it with the pouring, I would last longer and wouldn’t need to be diluted so damn much.
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