We all have certain things in our lives we find annoying, right? Even though to the rest of the world they may seem like not such a big deal, to us they are. Let’s not judge lest we be judged, …or something.

Here’s one of the things that turn me from the normally placid sweetheart I am into a snarling, out-of-control jackal. Clinks. And just in case you don’t live with a clinker, I’ll explain. A clinker is a person who sneaks back into the kitchen when he/she, mostly she, thinks no one will hear because everyone’s focus is aimed at the Family Shrine, the TV, and very, very quietly rearranges the dishes you’d loaded into the dishwasher a couple of hours before. This clinker can’t abide the way you’ve loaded the machine, has been obsessing about it all through dinner and the evening TV shows, and oh so casually arises and redoes the entire machine, so it’ll be “right”, hoping the sound of the TV blasting will cover the tiny clinks, the sounds made when plates touch plates, glassware touches glassware. The only problem is that as careful as she is, as slowly as she redoes the perfectly acceptable job done hours before, as slowly as she withdraws the plates from the dishwasher and as slowly and carefully replaces them, as meticulous as she is, the occasional “clink” is heard by everyone in the living room, and to them the sound is as loud as a gunshot. She has accidentally clinked two dishes together, making oh, such a tiny sound but still one that’s heard by the Clink Police no matter where they are or how deeply committed to their TV show. All heads jerk toward each other, all eyes fall to the empty chair and then roll in unison and go back to watching the movie. Clinker has been busted.

Eventually, Madame returns to the living room, no readable expression on her face, lowers herself into her chair, watches the show with interest, notices everyone’s smirking at her and says, “What??”

I have a relative who shall remain nameless whose name is Shirley who’s a dedicated clinker, and while the things she rearranges don’t always make surreptitious clinking sounds, I still call the sounds she does make “clinks” because in principle, it’s all the same thing. In her case, it’s my desk she sneaks in to clean and “organize.”

Now, who does that? Just because she’s a relative she can sneak into my personal private office and clean it up? Why? I know where everything is and, especially when people are watching, I take pride in reaching under a pile of personal rubble to pull out a needed postage stamp or urgent document.

Shirley is a classic clinker. When she comes for a visit, and after I go to bed, I hear her version of “clinks” as she creeps about moving strings or sealing wax and other fancy stuff to where she thinks they belong and to where I will never in my lifetime find them again. Clink/rustle/scrape/tap/stack/pile/slide/clink—tiny noises that tell me she’s at it again, but that clink sound, my personal anathema, comes from only one locale; the dishwasher.


Well folks, you pick your battles, right? So instead of letting my blood pressure shoot through my ears, I pull the pillow over my head and let crazy Shirley do her OCD dishwasher clinking if that’s what gives meaning to her life. I mean would it kill me to just let her rearrange my stuff and enjoy herself? Well actually, yeah, but whatever. But when Shirley finally leaves to go back to wherever she warrens, I eagerly go back to where I was once happy and living in my own personal anarchy.

The small irritating sounds of clinks don’t have to actually make the official clink noise to make us twitchy. Clinks, in my lexicon, can be the sounds of people’s footsteps as they creep around our homes to locate our hidden candy, or the sounds of pictures being oh so quietly rearranged on the guest room walls when the guest thinks her hosts are sleeping. Stuff like that.

But for me the most maddening clink is still the one coming from the dishwasher once it’s been loaded and ready to start and a certain purist sneaks into the kitchen, always at night, late, and clink-clink, rearranges the dishes awaiting washing, because after all, let’s face it, you just did not do it right.

LC Van Savage is a local writer. Contact her at LCVS@comcast.net, or visit LCVanSavage.com.

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