30 September 2008

Is this an appliance, I see before me?

I refuse to be outwitted by my new “hoover” (vacuum cleaner).  I am too smart to be defeated by British electrical appliances! Sometimes, I wonder if all of my British appliances are against me, or if the Dyson is on its own? Without a doubt, the Dyson is in it to win it. 

The “cooker”(stove/oven) is clearly in league with the Dyson; it has a mind of its own, along with a very frightening, flame-throwing death wish. The refrigerator is an insult to all appliances worldwide that bear that name.  It is the size—and shape—of a small shoe box. No, in fact I think there would be more space in a shoe box.  A toddler’s shoe box. Oddly, the largest appliance in my kitchen is the Freezer. We have more freezer capacity in our kitchen, than a caribou hunter in Alaska! And what, pray tell, could possibly have been the reasoning behind that design choice? Microscopic fridge (typically, the appliance used for maintaining necessary everyday items), with a colossal freezer (typical, in my case, only used for ice cream, French fries and occasional Edamame.) The mind boggles.

Having such a small refrigerator basically means that the D.E.B. has to perform a near daily run to Sainsbury’s on his way home from work. Sure, it’s very hip and French to do a bit of grocery shopping everyday, but, surely, eventually this has to become an annoyance. Although, I will say the “Sainsbury’s run” does have the side benefit of a very fun, routine exchange between the D.E.B. and myself. I log on to sainsburys.com, and create a virtual trolley of everything I want to buy. I then email the Trolley, pictures and all, to the D.E.B., who dutifully prints it out, and carries it forthwith to Sainsbury’s. On some occasions, we arrange to meet, and shop together. I really, really enjoy this.

On those days, I take the silly Warwickshire bus to Warwick (sounds redundant, and often feels that way) and walk to the bright, new, glistening Sainsbury’s. I run gleefully to their dazzling, new Starbucks (Yes, Starbucks!), order my Grande Soy Latte, read a book (currently, Professors Wive’s Club, by my dear friend, Joanne Rendell, a.k.a. “Superstar Writer Friend.”), and wait for my D.E.B. He arrives, smiling that smile, and we sit and have coffee. We stare into other’s eyes, and those few precious moments, in this Starbucks--that looks like every other Starbucks in the world--it feels  to both of us like we are back in NYC. Having coffee out in the Village during one of the D.E.B.’s transatlantic hops to see me, deciding how we should spend the afternoon, if we should go to the MET, the Morgan or just back to the apartment… Perhaps, our tiny fridge isn’t such a bad thing.

The washing machine. I have a secret fascination with the washing machine. I find myself purposely dirtying my clothes, just so I can use it.  (“Oh, dear. Did I just accidently spill tea on that skirt, and smear Marmite on my t-shirt? Oh, well, better wash them!”) The washing machine is adorable. The tub inside it is just about big enough to hold three pairs of socks, two towels, a t-shirt and a bra, to be washed at the same time.  It’s a Hobbit Washing Machine. I guess it’s a good thing that I am a Hobbit-sized person—though I’d prefer to be an Elf.

Although it is not technically an “appliance,” per se, my arch-nemesis—even more than the Dyson, or the masochist cooker—is the “washing line.”  The washing line is, of course, the implement I use to dry the clothes I am constantly washing. A nifty trick for a girl who has never known life without a huge, electric, tumble dryer.

The washing line tempts me. Whenever there is even the slightest a bit of sunshine on the horizon, the washing line whispers to me, like the serpent luring Eve: “Psst, psst. It’s a sunny day, better use it while you can…” I try to ignore it. I drink my tea, and keep reading. But as the sun beams hotter, I feel my resolve melting away. I dash about, madly gathering clothes, putting the Hobbit Washing Machine to work flat out. I then relish the moment—over an hour later—when the Hobbit Washing Machine has chugged its last and final spin, and I proudly drape the freshly cleaned clothes on the tempter washing line. Of course, of course, two hours later, as I am out walking Lucy up the hilly foothpath to Hareway Lane, the clouds break. Rain. On my clean, nearly-dried laundry.  And I can just hear the washing line, and the Dyson, sneering: “Gotcha!”

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