Monday, April 12, 2010
I realized this morning how much of that ethic I have in me. The old Maytag washing machine, which was probably bought in 1968, had sprung a leak. For years now, I’ve put up with minor leaks and a tendency to stop during a cycle. But making an actual puddle was too much, and so I ordered a replacement.
It had lasted for over 40 years, and yet it felt somehow wasteful that I had not at least tried to fix it. After all, on its last day in service, it still finished the load. I wonder if the new one will give that much for that long.
This, I think, may be the crux of the matter. I have several old machines in my house, which I am replacing one by one. Somehow the passing of the old Maytag in particular represents a step from 1968, when a consumer could count on well-known brands, to an unknown future. I haven’t needed to buy a washing machine until now, and so I realize that what I thought I knew about brands comes from previous generations. I feel a bit adrift.
Meanwhile, my dryer, the mate to the old washer, continues to work without complaint. Like that hundred-and-something-year-old light bulb in Livermore, it’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts.