Saturday 03 Dec 2016

Rage at the Machines
Jennifer Flaten

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t own a gun, because when things like electronics, appliances and vehicles fail to work my first instinct is to shoot them. Yes, I realize this wouldn’t solve the problem of why the dryer stopped working or why the DVR didn‘t record my show, but it sure would make me feel better.

This also explains why I am not “management” material; apparently going all Yosemite Sam on Ted because he didn’t turn the report in on time is not how you properly motivate an employee. Live and learn. Honestly, you would think they would put that in the handbook.

Sigh, since a gun wasn’t handy, and truthfully, even if I had one it would be stored in the gun safe. Which means I would have to walk to safe, get the gun, walk back to the piece of equipment and then shoot it? The chances I would get distracted on the way to the safe and never come back are extremely large, especially if I encountered a good book and a cupcake along the way to the gun safe.

With no weapon handy, I usually settle for giving the appliance a good swift kick. All right, in this specific instant, which occurred last night and involved the dryer, maybe more like five or six good swift kicks along with a long string of naughty words?

What can I say, the dryer decided to die without warning. It could at least have had the common decency to give me a few death rattles to let me know I should clear my schedule, as I would now be spending all my free time at my local Laundromat.

Since it didn’t, it caught me by surprise, which is not the kind of surprise I like. I like surprises that involve cake, cupcakes and presents not two days’ worth of damp clothes.

At first, I figured the clothes were still damp because I didn’t turn the dryer on. Why would I think that? Well, because I am prone to idiocy like that. Do you really want me to tell you how many times I wandered off without turning the dryer on? No, I didn’t think you did.

This whole episode wouldn’t be nearly so annoying if it didn’t come with a large dose of déjà vu. Almost two years to the day ago, our old dryer shuffled off to the great beyond.

So once again, I face heaps of cold wet laundry in the dead of winter.

Apparently, I was born under the ‘cursed to carry wet laundry to the Laundromat in below zero weather’ sign. Why couldn’t the dryers break in July?

At least in July I could put up a clothesline outside and hang my laundry up to dry. Instead, I get to schlep what feels like 27lbs of laundry to the Laundromat at 9p on a Saturday night. I had to borrow quarters for the machines from my kids. Do you know how much interest they charge? It is positively usurious.

A majority of my irritation stems from the fact I have no idea of how the dryer works, for all I know little elves run around in there blowing the laundry dry. Admit it, you think that, too; I know you die mean, really, how many people know how the poorly made is the equipment we depend on every day?

Since I have no idea how it works or even how to access its innards to figure out at how it works. I am thus stuck waiting for a repairperson.

I suppose I could google it, but really should I be trusted poking around the inside of a machine? I think not.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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