Out with the Wash

Our clothes washer died last month. We were surprised to see it go so soon. It was our new washer; our fancy one with a glass-domed front and a song at the end of its cycle.

It didn’t go quietly. Of course, that’s how we learned it was planning to perish. “Loud spinning” on webwashermd told us the bearings were shot.

“Can you save her?” I asked the repairman, my eyes tearing up.

“I’m afraid it’ll be cheaper to buy a new machine,” he drawled. The old toothpick held between his teeth moved somewhat as he tried to shape his cowboy features into one of sympathy.

“I’m sorry, Girl,” I told our faithful appliance. I patted the sci-fi door.

A few hundred computer searches later, we finally settled on a replacement. The options were tempting: two-in-one machines, cycle-sensing, vibrant color options, and consumer report favorites.

In the end, we picked a mid-grade model of the top load variety. I figured: if the fanciest model wasn’t able to grab my clothes, wash them, dry them, and fold and put away; I wasn’t going to spend a dime for more than basic clothes-bathing.

The purchasing session timed out midway, which may have been an omen. It may have been the old one’s electrical interference in protest. It may have been our spotty connection, frequently occurring between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily.

I gave The Internet a good hour to figure things out, then tried again. The order went through and immediately, stalkingly told us by electronic mail that the purchase was done.

After a week of scrubbing our clothing on the washing board of our nearby creek (conveniently inside a couple of neighbor’s houses), the delivery truck arrived.

I sunk to my knees in gratitude, ready to kiss the unshaven faces of our deliverymen. They could not have known the first-world issues I’d been facing all week, or that I was wearing pants that had not been cleaned during that entire interim.

“So, you bought a washer and dryer, right?” Deliveryman One asked. He stood near two boxes, each with our last name inscribed in a diagonal up the side.

“No,” I said, confused. “Just a washer.” We looked more closely. The boxes were identical.

Apparently, I was so grateful for washing machines, I had ordered two.

A few phone calls later, and we hoped everything was worked out. Our old washer was dragged, dripping, away. She left behind a few marks on the floor where her feet had agitated, two old hoses from whence she drank, and the mold of a decade that only a front loader can accrue.

Our new machine, meanwhile, was separated forever from its twin. Installed upstairs near a strange dryer, it opened its transparent lid in a final farewell wave.

We never saw the other washer again. Perhaps he was adopted by a nice family nearby, raised near hot water sources, and enjoys having his drum cleaned monthly by an attentive old lady with no other projects pressing on her time.

I’ll miss him, but he’s probably happier where he is now.

As to our old machine, may she mildew in peace. Perhaps her parts will live on, thanks to generous junkyard donor programs. Thanks for the songs, Old Girl.

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