Tangled Up In A Twist Of Fate 88/ A to Z Challenge/ W is for washing machine chronicles, wit and wisdom of Harlan Ellison (The useless)
Posted on April 26, 2013
At some point back when my sister and I shared an apartment on Acorn St. We had to buy a washer and dryer. The ones she’d schlepped around from New Britain to Southington to Windsor had crapped out. I had little to do with the purchase as she’d always deemed me to be incompetent at best, mentally slow at worst. I have to admit I did little to dispel those thoughts. Also at the time she was going out with Dave. He was a vet, my age and took no crap from her. We hit it off. She nagged him into appliance shopping even though he’d rather have been watching tapes of the NHRA Winternationals. He liked drag racing, especially live. My sister loathed live drag races. The nitro methane made her sick and the noise gave her headaches. Dave negotiated a trip to New Jersey in exchange for a shopping spree. My sister took charge and the store would deliver but not haul away. She called the landlord, her ex-husband and he recruited some of his maintenance bodies to pull out the offending appliances. If she’d stayed around to watch the extraction, she would have had a view into the future. I stayed home to let the movers in. The first thing they discovered that both machines were approximately 2″ wider than the width of the door opening. I killed two beers watching them juggle the dryer. It had to go first, it was the lighter of the two. I learned that on my first real job, furniture mover for the shadiest moving company in town. Standing back gave me perspective. I was far enough away to see the problem even though I didn’t SEE the problem. It took a cigarette, two innings of baseball and another beer to solve the problem. All it took was a simple request, a pry bar. The molding on the inside of the door was an 1″ on either side. Take it out and the machines slide out albeit with some damage to fingers. The molding was down when the new set arrived. They squeezed through. I taped a note to the washer for the next move. It came. Dave and my sister broke up and after a time she found Mike. I followed paying the cable bill and contributing to utilities. They were useless at Mike’s house, they were gas and his appliances were electric. Mike and my sister broke up after eighteen months. She hired a reputable mover to get all the furniture and assorted detritus to our present apartment, I mean My present apartment. Dave and my sister started going out again. He wanted to get married, her not so much. An aside, my car died and he let me park it in a parking space on his property. It stayed there until Dave’s sister called me and gave a lot of verbal insubordination about the car. It seems her son needed a parking place. I called Dave and he told his sister to f**k off and if she didn’t like his rules in his house she could move. He did this while on the phone with me. I got hold of John Smoker who appropriated a tow truck from the body shop he worked in and made the car disappear. My sister found the Murph. They married. The dryer began acting up. It got to the point it took3 hours to dry a load of clothes. The Murph spent $300 and bought a super dryer. It worked through an average load of clothes in 30 minutes. Everything cruise along. My sister died. About 8 months later so did the dryer. He called the only appliance repair shop in town $139 to fix the start switch. Again everything cruised. Last Wednesday I washed clothes. They got washed but not spun and I had to wring out the load in the sink and let them ride in the dryer for 2 hours. The appliance repairman came and told me it was the transmission as evidenced bu the puddle of oil on the floor. A new one was out of the question. The repairman said he had two he’d reconditioned in his shop. I went there, only after getting lost on a street that ended twenty feet from the front door of the shop. He had two, one for $160, one for $250. Did you ever know that you were going to make a wrong decision and did it anyway? I did. I took the one for $160. He delivered it and hauled the old one away. The new machine is idiosyncratic, I wanted to use that word, winter clothes must be done in small loads, the high water level isn’t quite, and it can suck the water heater dry in three loads on hot/cold. It spins, but the load has to be proper sized. I’ll live with it. It beats the Laundromat.
I got two books I ordered a whole ago. They were by and about Harlan Ellison. One is first novelThe Web of the City. The second is The useless wit and Wisdom of Harlan Ellison. I read some of his early work passed on to me by my ne’er-do-well cousin Donald. I got into him deep in my teens. He’s a spectacular writer. He’s prolific. He’s written novel, screenplays, graphic novels , a crap load of short stories and a bunch of essays on everything from TV to politics to movies. He’s written ninety plus books. Oh did I say he’s approaching eighty. He hates being called a gadfly, he prefers a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Zorro. I like him because he abides no ignorance and is willing to put his ass on the line. The book is small but it is packed with little bits of what he thinks. One of my favorites is “A ‘writer’ is the hapless devil who cannot keep himself from putting every vagrant thought he has ever had down on paper.” That’s me.
See you tomorrow.