7 July 2023

Getting down and dirty and spun out - a fool's guide

| Sally Hopman
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Plastic bag of mush

Just as well your author is not the sort of person to read/follow instructions to anything. At least the ones for her new machine are clean. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Some people climb mountains, write books, give to the needy … and follow directions.

You know the sort of thing. That thick, incomprehensible collection of words inside boxes which contain electric appliances. The ones that should have danger warnings – the instruction booklets, not the appliances.

When it comes to electrical appliances, I’m a really good cruise ship singer. I can buy the things, bring them home, tear off the wrapping – and then destroy them without really trying.

Last week the washing machine died. Yes, of course it was my fault, I probably forgot to feed it. But it refused to wash, cycle or do any of the roles it was scheduled to do. Except wash the laundry floor as the water escaped from the top of it. Odd because it was a front-end loading thingy.

So I thought I’d be sensible and buy another one, get someone to deliver it, install it, and take the old one away.

The first bits of my plan worked exceedingly well.

The new one arrived. The bloke who carried it in cottoned on to my plan and carried the old one out. He even offered to show me how the new one worked but I told him there was no need. I was good.

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I saw him off as it started to sprinkle, then rain, sleet and hail. I gathered the washing off the floor and chucked it into the new machine, gleaming as it did every time the lightning hit.

I almost, in retrospect, felt sorry for it. What was its future life going to hold? Lots of dirty stuff and being constantly spun out. Noice, different, but hardly unusual.

It was on. Literally. The little red light shone, the round bit started doing laps and I went to celebrate wildly – and put the kettle on.

Used to the old machine, which would take as long it wanted to wash something, I left the new machine for a couple of hours before I braved it and went back out to the laundry. OK, what had I done wrong? Was there water all over the floor? No. Was the machine flashing me? No. Had the socks escaped/returned? No.

OMG, It worked, I thought as I looked inside the front glass to see clothes lying in a heap. I took them out, chucked them in the washing basket, and commended myself on my brilliance. That was until I saw a manky plastic bag among them, filled with grey sludge. Then I noticed that every “washed” item was now decorated with similar sludge.

Seems I’d done the wash with the plastic bag of instructions still inside.

If you could get a refund for stupidity, I’d be rich.

So, as the sleet turned into frozen lumps, I headed out the back to the Hills Hoist, and started pegging the washed sludge on to the lines. Hopefully, I thought, the storm would wash all the manky bits off.

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Of course it didn’t. It cemented them on with zeal. I wasn’t sure whether to chuck them – I mean they were mostly all black because we know women of a certain age think that colour works for them – but then I looked at my little shivering dog, so I dried everything out in front of the fire – I am good at fire because little or no electricity is required – and chucked them on one of the dog’s many beds, with all the other things I’ve ruined in my long and clumsy life.

I haven’t used the washing machine again. It looks very handsome in the laundry with the dead leaves, mouse poo and 14 bottles of washing machine liquid scattered around it because I can never remember if I have any. Suri, where’s the nearest laundromat?

Postscript: Rather than sitting, thinking about why I wasted a vast amount of money on something I am now scared to even turn on, I escaped to the internet to look at cute dog pics. But they all seemed to have washing machines where the faces should have been. Then, as if like manna from heaven/hell, I saw this ad for an electric chainsaw. I’ve always wanted one of those, Evil Sally, said, as Stupid Sally started to fill in her credit card details. Stay tuned for all the gory details. It’ll have you in pieces.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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