Saturday, July 23, 2011

Normal Washing-Machine Operation

One of life's really deep questions is, "Why be normal?"

Think about it. Is there any good reason--just give me one good reason!--ever to be normal? And if there were one, what is normal? Is it politically correct? Is it average? Is it what people expect of you? If so, why should you ever want to be any of the above? Be yourself, for Heaven's sake!

What I wrote above is just some idealistic crap, really. It's what the new washing machine said to confuse me when I was ranting at it for using so little water that the dirty clothes hardly get wet at all. That's the fashion, you see: a modern washing machine has a computer in it that's programmed to save water. At the expense of cleanliness, I say. Somebody has spent months of their life thinking up a way to pretend that the clothes are being washed, so as to be able to slap an "A" on the machine for water economy. Meanwhile, the poor machine rolls a ball of semi-moist fabric around its innards, hoping against hope that, at the end of the program, they'll smell so much of fabric softener that the person using the machine will think the clothes are now clean.

That isn't the way it used to be. Our previous washing machine--bought before they started putting computers in them and at a time when people understood that you need a certain amount of water to get things clean--filled the drum halfway up the front-loading glass door, and then turned the dirty clothes around and around under the most convincing splashing. It didn't take any effort to trust that the result would be good, and good it was. Now that's what I call normal clothes washing.

And then this fancy new washing machine comes back at me with all this politically correct hogwash. It even hinted that I'd get on somebody's blacklist for holding un-ecological views. But I'm not afraid of a washing machine.

See, my better half is smarter than any embedded computer. She bought this great big coffee pot; I'm sure it holds at least five liters. We don't make coffee in it; we fill up the washing machine with it. Right after the machine has dribbled its computer-optimized sprinkle of wash-water on the laundry, I fill up the coffee pot at least three times over and pour the water into the detergent box. Then the water again goes halfway up the glass door as it's supposed to, where you can see the suds, and the clothes splash as they turn. That's what I call normal.

The new washing machine doesn't like me. They forgot to put a Plan B into its program for what to do if there's more water in the wash cycle than the "A" rating requires, and so the machine just sits there and has to wash the load the old way. It's degrading, the machine says, and threatens to report me to the thought police.

Just let it. When the jack-booted thugs break down my front door, I'll have the perfect defense at the ready.

I'll say, "Why be normal?"