So an amusing feature of the purchase of the refrigerator I bought to replace the one I bought in 2013, to replace the one that had been running 18 years except the door finally fell off, was the number of times I got called Sir.
This is just the latest of a litany of appliance failures. When I moved in, my then plumber opined that the water heater was about 35 years old and still going strong. About seven years later it showed signs of, you should pardon the expression, tanking and we got a new one. Thirteen years later I was told the bottom was on the way to rusting out.
Then there were the washing machines. For all my working life I’ve done something like 25 sets of sheets a week. I beat the crap out of washers. The front loader I bought in 2000 lasted nine years; the next one, barely four; the one after that, two and a half, and one after that croaked just after the end of the two year parts warranty. The repairman I called — a guy with clear anger management problems and indifferent cell phone skills — managed to finally look up the company website on his phone, swearing all the while, and told me it wasn’t worth what I’d pay to fix the washer.
This is what you hear now. By the time he left I had extracted the information that one brand of washer, and only one, made the agitation mechanism the way they used to, when machines didn’t faint if you used them. Only one independent store in the area handled them — the big Sears and Home Depot type dealers sold only the instabreakers — and I paid out the wazoo, whereupon we instantly went into a pandemic and those 25 loads a week were a matter for history.
The 2013 fridge had its first breakdown at 18 months — a fried circuit board which refried again, like beans, a couple of years after the first replacement. Some time after that the onboard defrosting cycle went wonky and the repairman told me it was because the food I had stored in the freezer drawer stuck out a little over the top. You got me. That fix lasted until a couple of weeks ago when the fridge started warming up again.
I said Fuck It and called the fancy dealer again. The fridge appeared two days later (I had all the windows open, forced KN95 masks on the deliverymen, and ran the Corsi-Rosenthal air filter until a half hour after they left, because everyone has gone insane).
This time it only took two days. The freezer is full of frost and the naked eye (at least the Engineer’s, because I am only half blind now rather than nearly blind) can see the gap between the gasket seal and the refrigerator door.
This refrigerator cost more in absolute dollars than my first car. Fucksake. Part is on order.
But there’s always something to make you smile, and for me, it’s the salesman calling me Sir on the phone, and the repairman calling me Sir when he scheduled his visit. I am a light baritone (all my shower arias are parts like Scarpia and Hans Sachs) and this happens a lot. I think it gets me some respect. I’ve gotten it to my face when I’m wearing a jacket and hat. The times being what they are, I’m waiting for someone to try throwing me out of a women’s bathroom, except that for the foreseeable future, I’m not going into any public bathrooms because this friggin thing is not over and in a mask, no one can tell if you’re Sir or Ma’am anyway. It could be the solution to a lot of problems.