Mrs Kelvinator – now there was a dame. Whiter than white. A buxom bottom the way bottoms are supposed to be. And my goodness, what a workhorse.
She got my father-in-law's factory grease out. She was careful with the delicates. And she positively churned through bath towels. No fuss. Just add detergent, turn the knob, and away she goes.
Mrs Kelvinator had been going since the mid-seventies. She lived at my in-law’s house. Then she moved in with us when my husband and I got married. She came with her trusty companion, old Mr Kelvinator the fridge.
Mr and Mrs Kelvinator served us well, but eventually their bits started to wear out – and their tickers went. Dr Electrician fixed Mrs Kelvinator once, but when she went again, we had to put her down.
Enter Mrs Simpson. Small. Water efficient. With lots of bells and whistles that beeped at you when she was done. I never quite took to Mrs Simpson. I couldn’t just open her lid willy-nilly mid-cycle – she narked up like an hormonal teenager. She left mysterious brown marks on whites, and white marks on darks. And after 26 months she died. Right after a massive birthday pie fight where 15 kids used up all our towels. So inconsiderate. So typical.
I was very angry with Mrs Simpson. How could she? More specifically, how could her makers create her so flimsily? I know very well that products these days are made with built in redundancy*. I imagined her spiffy little body rusting in a grave of mass produced washing machines and fridges – at this rate, she would be joined by many more from us in our lifetime. It didn’t bear thinking about.
Of course, Mrs Simpson would have to be replaced. And fast. Dirty laundry waits for no one. It was too easy. A bit of internet research. A phone call to our local whitegoods store. Some heavy bargaining over the phone. I manage to get the five-year warranty for free – I’ve learnt the hard way. Delivery in three days. Hand over the credit card details. Thank you very much maam.
In the meantime, the towels are festering. I visit the local Laundromat. A Pakistani lady with a shopping trolley helps me with change. An efficient 20-something with two suitcases of washing smiles and holds the door open. I load 15 towels into the no-nonsense Mistress Maytag industrial and insert my coins. She only has one knob with six options. A comforting cloud of steam emanates from her as she does her thing.
I fantasize about doing my washing here all the time – the Laundromat could be a community of sorts, bringing us all out to make the drudgery of washing just that little bit more social, a ritual. A good coffee machine completes the picture in my mind’s eye.
But then I get real and go back home – Mr Whirlpool will be arriving any minute.
*This concept is outlined beautifully in a great book called ‘What’s Mine is Yours’ by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
PS: I know this entery isn't about shared food, but a girl needs her writing therapy when the washing machine goes, and this is mine.