The new washing machine arrived today. I really was sad when the 26-year-old Maytag was hauled away. That old machine had three buttons – for water temperature – and three options for washing cycles. It was a “top loader” and on the shelf above I stored the giant jug of detergent with the dispenser aimed right at the machine. Reach up, push the button and the liquid flowed right in. It was a forgiving washer: if I omitted a towel, I could open the lid and throw in the towel (so to speak). And quiet, except when I fed it too much and it waddled around the floor, unbalanced.
The new machine has 15 buttons and an equal amount of cycles to choose from. It locks when it starts. Really, the door locks. I know this is true because the lock button says so. No throwing in the towel with this appliance. And it talks to me in sci-fi language of beeps and beep-beeps. Perhaps it is speaking a form of electronic Morse code. Really irritating. I do not like machines that talk, only when they are expected to - like the television and the radio and the CD player. Otherwise, mute is the preferred setting.
I want to be like my friend, Mary, who died at 91. Mary could always tell me about the latest gadget or trend or celebrity. She told me the secret to a long life was having a reason to get up in the morning and to be curious about life, not afraid to change. I can hear her applauding the new washing machine, reminding me of the tricks it will do to save time, energy, and my sanity.
Sometimes it is the people in our past who launch us into the future.
(S-R archives photo)