A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


A 24-Year-Old Kenmore, Piazzolla & The Romance Of Appliances
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Damascino Vasquez, the Filipino appliance repairman from Sears inspected our ailing 24-year-old Kenmore washer a few days ago and told me it could not really be fixed. He took the back apart and pointed at the clutch mechanism that he said was not working and at both at what looked like nasty oil leaks and some water leaks. "It's dead. You have had good service from it. Retire it." If I had not seen those oil leaks and water leaks I would not have believed him.

Yesterday Rosemary and I went to Sears and bought the cheapest Kenmore we could find. There were cheaper units but this one happened to be a floor model. It will be delivered on Thursday. And meanwhile what do we do? Use the old Kenmore, that's what we will do and are currently doing. There was loose bolt in the top of the agitator. I purhased a new one and upon tightening the machine works just fine.

Some years ago (at least 20)at a Malcolm Parry Christmas gathering in his home in Deep Cove I distinctly remember him saying something like, "Any man that gives a woman an appliance as a gift is not a man, or at least not a man with romance."

In 1965, in Buenos Aires I had a short but torrid relationship with a beautiful dark-haired woman called Susy. After an evening of incredible heart wrenching romance courtesy of Astor Piazzolla (live) playing his Milonga del Angel we left the theatre hand in hand. There was an appliance store across the street and Susy steered me to it and made me look at a gleeming refrigerator. "Isn't it beautiful?" she asked me. I was confused but it dawned on me that this beautiful woman was looking at this poor sailor ($1.00 a month military pay) with no apparent future as marriage material.

Sometime in the late 80s I went back to Argentina and looked up Susy. I rang the bell of her apartment She opened the door (I had not seen her since she had dumped me in 1966), looked at me and said, "Aren't you going to kiss me?" Later I reminded her about the fridge incident and she simply could not remember it. She went as far as to tell me that the fashionable Calle Florida (where we had attended our Piazzolla concert) had never had anything that could have been an appliance store.

At my age the prospect of having to buy a washing machine was even less romantic than looking at a refrigerator on the fashionable Calle Florida in 1965. When we went to Sears downtown, I did my best to convince Rosemary that we were buying a machine that was going to wash our clothes - nothing more and nothing less. Fortunately our salesman, Andrew Sipos (a superb one, I would buy a used car from him any day) understood and he made the transaction easy, quick and almost pleasant.


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