The Great Breakdown

February 14, 2014 | 3 Comments

A breakage epidemic has been running through my household items.  First to go was the vacuum, then the toaster.  The dishwasher no longer washes anything and soon the staggering, punch drunk computer will throw in the towel.

Every event in life holds some lessons for us, I suppose.  Here’s what I should have learned versus what I have actually learned in the wake of this mass appliance breakage:

The Computer:

Hang in there Bessie, just a few more days.

What I should have learned

I went to Best Buy and played with some of their display models.  After finding two computers that seemed like the most fun to use, I went to CNET to compare my top two choices.  This is a big purchase, so I should have thrown myself headfirst into RAM, CPUs and operating systems.

What I actually learned

Here is an excerpt from the CNET site.   “Finally, the fall 2013 iMac gets GPUs from Nvidia’s latest series, the GeForce 755M, 775M, or 780M in the 27-inch models, and the GeForce 750M in the higher of two 21.5-inch models.” 

To which I say, “Hmmm, wow, Nvidia’s GeForce 755M in the 27-inch mode model, you don’t say?  Well why don’t  I just notate that on this schematic I have in front of me…. or, I know! Instead I’ll just scream and bang my head against the wall until a new computer arrives upon my desk.  That seems like the more pleasurable option.”

This whole ‘computer investigation’ process has made it clear how much I rely upon and appreciate my husband, who is a happy resident of computer land.  Where I peer in from outside the fence, dash in to grab what I need and get out as quickly as possible, my husband will happily roll in the technological clover of gigabytes, gigahertz and pixels .  So when he comes home and says, “If you’re interested in a Mac I can look into getting you a refurbished one this weekend.” I feel the same sense of gratitude and well-being that my ancient Homo erectus ancestress must have felt when Og dragged in the bloody haunch of a saber tooth tiger.


The Toaster:

Note the gimpy lever. This is what happens when the nine-year-old decides to catapult her morning toast.

What I should have learned

I can’t imagine.  I should have just gone to Target and bought a damn toaster.

What I accidentally learned

How completely unnecessary to my daily life is a toaster.  The broiler browns bread quite nicely, and much more quickly than my toaster ever did.  Also, it creates a more delicious baking bread aroma than does the toaster.  The only difference is that in the oven you have to be on ‘toast duty’ for a good two minutes, otherwise it crosses the line from tan goodness to charcoal very quickly.  I might not even replace the toaster.

The Dishwasher:

But doctor...she looks so healthy....

What I should have learned

From the perspective of this internet sicko,  I should have learned the pleasure of washing dishes by hand.  I should have basked in the warm, soapy bubbliness, slowed down and savored the time in the kitchen with my kids helping to dry and put away.

What I actually learned

The dishwasher is probably the best invention that the twentieth century had to offer.[1]  Washing dishes is a time-consuming, sloppy drag.  The counters and floor get all drippy, you have to use and then wash an excessive amount of towels and dinner ends with a sense of dread at the massive clean-up job ahead.  Worst of all, I have now come to resent my families basic needs.  ‘Oh you’re thirsty?  I suppose you’ll be wanting that drink in a glass[2].’  The dishwasher will most certainly be replaced.

CNET, anyone?



[1] Fine, antibiotics, water treatment, electricity… We can put the dishwasher in fourth place if it will make you happy.

[2] Subtext here: you selfish monster, how dare you become thirsty immediately after all the dishes are done?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina Ha February 15, 2014 at 12:33 am

I agree, NEVER let the dishwasher go unfixed. I do enjoy residing in PC techy terabyte land. But, oh, my toaster will burn a Hello Kitty image into your toast. Jealous much? ;)


kelly February 15, 2014 at 9:20 am

Now I’m curious- If I put a metal cookie cutter on a piece of bread and put it in the broiler, can I get the Hello Kitty effect? Will try it and report the results to you.


Nina Ha February 16, 2014 at 1:32 am

I’m hoping you’re referring to a generic cookie cutter and that you don’t actually own a Hello Kitty cookie cutter. But then again, I own her toaster so I’m not really one to talk here.


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