Last weekend I was sick. As nature dictates when a crisis occurs, the dryer broke, the dishwasher turned sulky, and the oven raced from 0 to 5000 degrees like it was on the appliance Autobahn. I should have expected it. Nothing in the house is the same when the Mama is out of sorts.
I realize now that I should have taken time to explain to the appliances that I was planning on taking sick leave, but who knew? That sort of thing is not built into the job description, and besides, appliances are too sensitive these days anyway. Who can deal with a microwave that flings its turntable across the kitchen like a Frisbee when you push the wrong button?
When I was a kid, Mama’s washing machine could jog around the back porch with a load of delicates like it was the pajama marathon and be ready to take on sheets and towels without even stopping to empty the lint trap. On the other hand, my washing machine is very particular about how things are packed and when and where extracurricular items like, say, laundry detergent or fabric softener are added. And don’t even think about taking it for a spin unless you’ve distributed your blouses carefully in a crisscross design. One shoulder pad out of place and you’re unbalanced. Then the thing buzzes in an insulting manner like the wrong answer signal on Jeopardy.
I can remember back in the precomputerzoic era, Mama peacefully ironing basketfuls of clothes while we watched Password together on our black and white television set. Our clothes were fresh and clean back then, hanging neatly pressed in rows in our closets. These days I can Twitter on my cell phone and catch up with movie reviews on my laptop while I yank the clothes out of the dryer and toss them at the kids to put away.
But just now I’m huddled in front of a screen full of static showing on my television that needs a digital converter, my computer won’t load You Tube because my dial up connection is flaky, and I’m wearing my last clean pair of jeans because even with special delivery, the part I bought on e-Bay to fix my dryer won’t arrive until tomorrow. My damp, wrinkled clothes are hanging like monkeys in a rain forest from shower curtain rods, unused televsion antennae, and taller family members.
I wish Mom were here. She could show me how to turn on the iron.