So my washing machine is a relic of happier times, times when people drove around in gigantic cars with fins and no seatbelts, and watched boxy TV sets in black and white without remote controls. My washing machine (in all its pastel glory, sporting a color that can best be described as “understated cantaloupe”) is what the listing agent who sold us our house affectionately referred to as “original.” I am not picky about washing machines, just as long as they accept soap, produce water, and swirl the clothes around. My vintage washer does all these things.
My washer likes to surprise me. I leave the dials in the same spot approximately 99.9% of the time (cold, delicate), and yet, my washer likes to dictate its own temperature and activity levels according to its mercurial moods.
“Cold?” washer inquires in that antiquey metallic voice. “Uh, no. I prefer hot now.”
I put my hand in to verify the cold, and my skin is scalded off in unattractive, blistery chunks.
The one time I am washing all whites and think, Hmm, maybe a dash of bleach and I will set the cycle on hot today, washer decides, “Let’s try cold this time. Icy. Mmm. That’s refreshing.”
I want to pull all the dials off in a rage, a rage of Temperature Angst, but when I try, washer clenches down its bolts and screws and says, “Ha! I was made more sturdiest than you thought!” (washer has good bolts, but lousy grammar).
Come on, washer, I whine, Can’t you do what I ask for once?
Washer laughs. “Tell you what, MOV, I can do what you ask … exactly as often as your own two children do.”
("Machine Of Vexation")