Most of the time I’m a creature of habit; of routines. Most of the time. Except when I’m not.
I like routines. Routines are comfortable. And helpful. They mean I get stuff done, generally boring trivial stuff, without having to think too much about it. Doing things almost on autopilot as it were. Things like washing for example. Washing as in the washing of clothes and stuff that is.
Not that it’s a particularly arduous task. Throughout the week just dump soiled things in the laundry basket. Then, once a week, bung the lot in the washing machine. (Not the whole lot of course. I don’t bung the laundry basket in as well. I’m not that stupid. Am I?) Wait a while for the machine to do its stuff; empty machine out; hang the lot up to dry. Job done.
See… not especially arduous. Just boring. Oh so deadly boring. And it has to be done. Week after week. Every week. That’s the truly boring bit. The fact that it never ends… week after week after week. (Except when I’m away of course.) And always the same sort of stuff. (Well, it would be, wouldn’t it?) B o r i n g !
Of course, I could always stop wearing clothes I s’pose. Then I wouldn’t have to do any washing. Though that’d prob’ly create its own boring problems. And I’d likely get cold as well.
Now this particular chore of doing the washing normally gets done on a Wednesday evening. Unless I’m not at home on a Wednesday evening, in which case it’ll be some other evening. Obviously. But the routine, the habit, is Wednesday evenings.
So ingrained has it become that, without even thinking about it, some time during the course of a Wednesday evening (when I’m at home!) I’ll find meself stuffing things into the washing machine. Washable things that is… just to be clear about it. Though if there’s any cats hanging around. Hmm…
Except, it seems, this Wednesday just past. Don’t know why. No reason for it. I was definitely at home. I’m sure I was at home. But somehow the habit had a sort of seizure. And I didn’t even remember I hadn’t stuffed the machine until Thursday!
That’s the thing with habits y’see. They become so… er… habitual that you’re not even aware of doing them. Or, more to the point in this particular case, not doing them.
Oh well. Not a major problem. Just have to do the washing on Thursday I guess. But I actually quite dislike doing it cos it’s so damn boring… I think I may have said that already. So I sort of… er… put it off a bit as it were. Until early Friday morning. Like about half-six Friday morning in fact. When I finally forced myself to drag the laundry basket downstairs (from its residence in the bathroom) and stuff the machine. (Had to really, else I wouldn’t have had any clean clothes to wear for the coming week!)
Sort of. But then I hit a snag.
Here’s the machine. Notice how… um… complete it looks.
And here’s the same machine, minutes later, just after I’d opened the door. Notice anything missing?
Well, in case you didn’t spot it, here it is. The door. Note how it’s clearly not attached to the machine. In fact, it’s laying on the floor.
Now, trust me, this isn’t how washing machine doors are supposed to behave. All good little washing machine doors tend to stay attached to their machines, where they belong. Not loitering around on the floor without a care in the world. That’s just plain inconsiderate, if not downright rude.
“Hmm,” thinks I somewhat ponderingly, “the door appears to have fallen off.” I’m quick to notice things like that y’see. But I tentatively kick it around a few times just to make sure that it actually has fallen off and it’s not just pretending; or playing some sort of trick on me; or that I’m imagining it. Yep. Definitely fallen off.
Best I stare at it for a while to see if it’ll somehow magically jump back into place. Well, it fell off. Why can’t it fall back on again? But it doesn’t. So now its crunch time. A decision has to be made. Shall I panic? Or shall I carry on regardless, try to fix the door back on, and press on with the washing?
Well, before making that decision a full-scale investigation’s obviously called for. Like why the damned door fell off in the first place. It’s certainly never fallen off before. Not that I can recollect. And I’m sure I would have noticed cos, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m quick to notice things like that. Usually.
Now it happens that I’m quite good at this interrogation lark. So even though it’s not every day I get to investigate falling washing machine doors it doesn’t take me too long to discover that the hinge appears to be broken. Not broken in a good way either. Broken as in a bit of metal has sheared.
Oops. No quick fix for that then. Guess I only have one option in that case… carry on regardless, but with some trepidation. So I do.
Stuff washing into machine. Gingerly reposition door in approximately the right place. And… good to go. Maybe.
Well, the machine seems to start ok. Quick look around to make sure there’s nothing on the floor that’ll get ruined by being soaked in water when the door falls off during the spin cycle (all that vibration’s bound to do it) and water gushes out.
Fortunately the machine lives in the kitchen that, also fortunately, happens to have a tiled floor.
So a bit of water splashing here and there won’t harm it too much. (About time it had its annual wash anyway.) And there’s nothing on the floor that’ll get harmed either…. apart from the laundry basket itself, which I rapidly plonk on top of a stool. Sorted!
Nearly. All that remains is to put the emergency rescue kit on standby for just in case. (And its been a long time since that’s seen any use!)
Not much else to do at this point apart from wait with bated breath for the inevitable flooding to occur. Plus who knows what else. Possibly half-washed clothes being flung all over the place as though poltergeist-infested? But I’m buggered if I’m going to sit around for the next half hour or forty minutes (or however long it takes) waiting for the fun and games to commence.
Retire upstairs then to go play with the other infernal machine (cos quite clearly the washing machine equally qualifies as infernal now). Although I have to confess that bashing the keys didn’t occupy my entire attention for I had one ear cocked listening out for the crash of the door falling off mid-wash.
Which, strangely, didn’t happen! Hmm. Interesting. So the only question that now remains is how long I can carry on as it is before I’m forced to consider stupid alternatives like getting it repaired properly (cos I doubt it’ll be amenable to my favoured “repair” techniques of gaffer tape, string, and elastic bands) or, more likely, replaced?
On the other hand, a really large bungee cord around the outside of the machine to hold the door in place might just do the trick. Hmm.
The really irritating thing about the whole silly episode though is that the damned machine’s only about five or six years old. Let’s say six years for argument’s sake. And let’s say I’ve used it once a week for all those six years. That means I’ve used it about 312 times!
Beg pardon? 312 times? Let’s put this into some sort of perspective shall we? Imagine you buy yourself a brand new car, use it for 312 journeys… and then the door falls off. What are you going to think?
Or you buy a brand new camera. And take 312 pics with it. And then the little door thingie covering that hole where the battery goes falls off. It’s just not right, is it? In fact, its bloody disgraceful! Talk about built-in obsolescence. It’s ridiculous.
Why, when I was a youngster… um, come to think of it, I’m not sure people had washing machines back in them days. I know we didn’t. But if we’d had washing machines I’m damn sure they would have lasted longer than 312 uses!
Or let’s look at it another way. Assuming an average wash cycle (on the programme I use at least) lasts about 35 minutes (I’m guessing, but I think that’s about right) then I’ve had approximately 182 hours’ use out of the thing… that’s about 1.08 weeks’ worth of work. Dammit. That means this thing’s lasted me just under two weeks! Why am I beginning to get the feeling I’ve been ripped off?
Oh well, too late to do anything about that now. Best I add its repair/replacement to my ever-growing “to do” list then. Which means, all being well, that I may get around to doing something constructive about it in… ooh… five years maybe. Possibly longer.
Meantime it’ll just become one more thing to add to all the other endearing little features that bestow upon my humble abode its delightfully eccentric character. And after all, it’s not as though anyone else is going to use the machine, is it? So as long as I know the door’s a bit temperamental that’s ok, isn’t it?
The downside of all this being that although the clothes did get washed, the floor didn’t. Oh pooh!
[Edit 18:19hrs – Hmm. Thinking about it I suspect I may have underestimated the actual amount of real work I’ve had from the machine. In fairness my figures were only an approximation, working on the basis of averages. Nevertheless, I don’t think I really took into account those times when I’ve done a “big” wash that obviously takes a fair bit longer than the half-hour or so. Nor did I mention the times (infrequent though they are) when I’ve done two washes in a week. On the other hand, neither did I refer to those occasions, several times a year most years, when I’ve been away for a few days and the machine hasn’t been used at all. So it probably all balances out.
However, even assuming the actual work done has been double what I originally said, that still only equates to just over three-and-a-half weeks! Now I ask you, would you buy a bit of kit knowing in advance that it would survive less than four weeks before breaking?]