Helen of Marlowe's Blog

The Machine Stops

Posted in Uncategorized by helenofmarlowe on April 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

Things fall apart. And I’m in a disgruntled mood. I suspect that’s normal after buying a product and expecting it to work (silly me) and then having to spend an hour talking to a machine.

June 18, 10 months ago, I bought a convection/microwave oven and a refrigerator. I almost never buy extended warranties (Consumer Reports advises against it) but this time, because of recent problems with similar products, I did.

The OTC microwave/convection oven, GE Profile model #JVM1790SK01, replaced a similar model that lasted only two years. This time, it was the light that went out.

Now before you roll your eyes at this silly old woman who cannot change a light bulb, let me tell you that you can’t either, unless you want to void the warranty. It wasn’t the exterior light bulb, it was the one inside that lights the food so you can see what you’re cooking without opening the microwave while it’s waving (which everyone knows is a sin). So a very nice man came out with heavy tools and exposed the private parts of our microwave. He replaced the light bulb, but the nice man hardly had time get home and open a beer before the light went out again. Another bulb is on order, and another service call will be scheduled.

On that same day (I hate shopping, so why not get it all over with at once) I also bought a refrigerator, Whirlpool model #ED2KHAXVQ. It has stopped dispensing ice. Not a big deal. We can open the freezer door and reach in and get ice. But things ought to work.

That was the matter that necessitated my talking to a machine. Humans no longer answer telephones. (Not that they wouldn’t, if given a chance.) This aggravation was further aggravated by my having to stand in the kitchen using the wall phone, because all three of our cordless handsets died this week. (OK, I sat, but you get the point.) My son was skeptical when I told him we are now cordless-less because all three handsets lost their charges. (To paraphrase Lady Bracknell’s remark to Ernest, it does seem a bit careless.) He says it’s implausible that all three cordless handsets would lose their battery charge at once.

He is right. It is implausible. Nevertheless, that’s what they did.

And as soon as I post this, I will go to the kitchen phone and call the Buick dealer to report that the $1200 we spent last year to replace the panel with all its gauges on our 2004 Buick LeSabre must not have been sufficient. Because again, we have no way of knowing whether the engine really is running hot, or whether we really are out of gas (the digital readout last night gave an estimated fuel range of 44 miles, then  474 miles, then 120 miles, 296 miles, all within a span of about 10 minutes driving home from AU meeting in the rain) and whether we really are driving 120 mph on city streets.

The gauges are out again.



6 Responses

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  1. Joseph Gilmore said, on April 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Since this is probably a bad time to remind you that your dishwasher also quit last week, I won’t. I’ll just go read a little short story by E.M. Forster… and wish you betterness ahead.

  2. Rovor said, on April 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I find this — and the ones following it — to be so full of comprehension and caring and a
    love of good writing — that any novelist or poet, when trying to form an idea of the kind of reader they’d like to see reading their work — if they read your comments would say — there, there is the reader I’m looking for!

  3. alvason said, on April 30, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Dearie me, you have been cursed, hexed.

    The most effective long-term solution to clearing a curse, jinx, or getting past a “black hole” in your life is rooted in a change in attitude. You must look inward and seek that which must be changed.

    Perhaps you have too much “stuff”. Would it really hurt not to have a car? a microwave? a phone? Insidious merchandising has, as Galbraith showed us so well, created a need where there was none. Peer pressure has pushed you into this ownership of “stuff”.

    Remarkably, I have this very evening been reading Sciascia’s description of the Sicilian love of stuff as being an aspect of amour propre in the sense used by Rockefoucauld, which, on reflection, it is perhaps best we do not go into now, or here.

    Alternatively, and contrary to what the doom-sayers would have us believe, it is perhaps an illusion that there is some outside, perhaps evil, effect at work here but rather the chance is always there that, as things are for sure going to go wrong, there is no law that says that they will not all go wrong at the same time.

    So I would start with a bit of soul-searching and if all else fails, throw the lot out and get back to basics. After all we had no water supply here, for reasons unknown, for a few hours today and lo, yet we live.

    That’s what I think, anyway.

  4. alvason said, on April 30, 2011 at 10:25 am

    … that should be “Rochefoucauld” … bit of a typo there, sorry.

  5. helenofmarlowe said, on May 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Search my soul, you say? No, it always makes me sad when I see what’s in there. Much to worry about, little to like. I’m not one of those courageous sorts who can get in there and clean up the mess. All I manage to do is pull the covers a little tighter over my head. No, soul searching is for those more courageous than I.
    But that perhaps is fodder for another blog. Too much stuff? Yes, we do have running water, and electricity (most of the time). And as for a car, not easy to get around in middle American without one. We’re pretty backward over here when it comes to public transportation. Not too many toys though. In fact, we don’t even have a TV – haven’t had for almost 30 years, except for the brief time after my mother’s death when we brought her TV over. We soon agreed that it was not worth the space it was taking up, so we gave it away. To one of our sons who has not yet learned the wisdom of living without a TV.
    And maybe that’s also for another blog . . .
    Thanks for your visit.

  6. pat t. said, on May 2, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    The joy of technology – alleged savior of human kind rears its ugly head. How well you capture the insanity of it all. My sympathies, and I am in awe that you have no TV.

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