Sometimes I think Jon Carroll and I live the same life.
I am the chief dishwasher in this house, and I like to have some control over my territory. I like things in a certain order because (a) it's possible to get more stuff in the washer per load if Certain Rules are followed and (b) it's possible to unload the dishwasher more quickly if like objects are grouped together.
You probably noticed that when Jon refers to himself as a "dishwasher", he means "the person who sees to it that the dishes are washed" as opposed to "the person who washes the dishes".
I am the chief dishwasher facilitator (that seems to be a more accurate or at least more impressive-sounding description) here, mainly because I am also the primary cook. Somehow it feels more comfortable, more complete to do both jobs.
Unlike the manual dishwashing of old, when one person washed and other dried, this is not a group effort.
If, God forbid, someone should come in to offer help, we resist in the strongest possible terms.
I have strayed somewhat in this area on occasion, for the usual reason: Bean (Grandbaby's nickname, given to her by Grandma) likes to help once in a while, and making exceptions for grandchildren is part of The Code. Note, however, that this only applies to unloading.
Jon and I have also faced similar inquisitions.
We were sitting around the kitchen after dinner as I was doing the dishes, and the grandmother said something in French to the father, our translator for the weekend. They had a small hushed argument, and finally he said, "She wants to know why you wash the dishes before you put them in the machine that washes the dishes."
My daughters have been my interrogators on this subject, so I have been able to write it off as youthful ignorance of the tenacity of dried food on kitchenware, and the detrimental effects large pieces can have on on dishwasher innards. My younger daughter has since moved into an apartment with her own dishwasher, and with it has acquired maturity and understanding. I haven't seen her loading technique, so I haven't had a chance to offer advice, which may be for the best. As with many things, she should develop her own style.