Lifestyle & Culture

The Soul of a Machine

June 21, 2020

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ABOUT TWO months ago, our dishwasher started making a terrible sound when it was running. This was new; usually it was very quiet. But suddenly it sounded like a cow in labor. Really, the machine started to moo. It was dreadful to hear, and it made you want to put the poor thing out of its misery. But it kept on running, and the dishes got clean, so we just tolerated it as best we could, since we never thought about it once it stopped.

Then about ten days ago, our clothes dryer, normally very quiet, started clacking and clanging like a San Francisco trolley car. I fully expected it to explode, or shoot through the roof of the house, or something dire like that. But again, it continued to work and the clothes got dry, so we let it go and concentrated on surviving the pandemic.

But finally I had had enough, and a couple of days ago set about finding an appliance repairman. I made several calls and left messages detailing the problems with the dishwasher and the dryer. Eventually I got a call back and the repairman was very helpful. He explained what each noise might be, and said that in both instances it would be cheaper to just get new appliances since the costs of repair were quite high, and not really worth the investment in machines several years old. He said to run them until they broke completely, and be ready to replace them. I reported this news to my husband and we agreed that was the best course of action.

All of these conversations took place within earshot of both machines. Today, for the first time since deciding they had to go, I ran them both. Neither one made a sound; both worked perfectly, just like in the old days.

—Andrea Rouda

Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid



One thought on “The Soul of a Machine

  1. The computer control panel on top of my 5-year-old Maytag range started malfunctioning last week. First the zero wouldn’t deploy – so I cursed and went to 355. Two days later, ready to put pizza in the oven, and NONE of the buttons worked. I could only turn on broil. Which I did. Broiling makes lousy pizza. I phoned the repairman – we have a great one. I described the issue and he arrived a week later – he’s very popular – with a new panel under his arm. He pressed 350. It lit up. He pressed the zero. It worked. He pressed every damn button and the range howled with laughter. The new panel was $200 plus labor, still a thousand or so bucks less than a new stove. Put it in, I said, damn thing is just toying with us. So he did.

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