Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dave? Is That You, Dave?

The excellent crime fiction writers blog Working Stiffs ran this post today; the topic is the infallible ability of homeowner big ticket items to fail when you can least afford them to. This was a particularly timely post for me, as we have recently replaced our dishwasher (I mean the mechanical one; the Beloved Spousal Equivalent is secure in her position) and are looking for a toaster.

These events have made me realize appliances are smarter than we give them credit for, but not as smart as they think they are. Take our old dishwasher. We inherited it when we bought the house, and it had obviously been here a while. The BSE complained about it daily, with cause.

Earlier this month we ordered a new one. The old immediately started acting up: drying even less well than before, leaving more streaks. It knew we were talking replacement, which I thought was pretty perceptive for an inanimate object. It just didn't realize its actions were counterproductive. Not its fault; dishwashers rarely have the emotional maturity of, say, a combination washer/dryer. It can now contemplate its improper response in the Prince George’s County landfill.

Last week the toaster started burning toast even worse than usual. I pointed to the new dishwasher and said, "If I dumped a large appliance like that one, don't think I won't run your ass out of here in a heartbeat."

I haven't made toast since then. We'll see how it goes.

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