I knew it was a bad sign when I heard the washing machine start making horrible noises as it hit the spin cycle. I realized it was even worse when I walked into the kitchen and smelled an electrical burn.
Panic isn’t exactly the word as my heart didn’t start racing or my palms start sweating. As I stood watching the vibrating machine, I thought, ok, that’s not good. (Good start – state the obvious. Maybe I had the part of panic where you stop being able to think).
Hmm, electrical smell, I continued ruminating. Electrical fires are different than normal fires, right? How does one put out an electrical fire should this thing become engulfed in flame? I know it’s not water, but I don’t have any baking powder.
By this point, my Smokey the Bear fire safety training is obviously failing me. So instead I turn to this line of questioning: Is it ok to just pull the plug or is that a dangerous move if unsure whether an appliance is about to explode?
How long can I stand here wondering, I wondered, before something bad happens? I mean, it was spinning away, the load’s final spin. I start rooting for it. Come on, washing machine! You can do it! Just finish this last minute without full-on calamity and I will be so happy.
It does. Yay!
I open the door and smoke wafts out. (Or let’s wistfully call it vapor?) Hmm, this is not good. (Original assessment still in tact).
I’ve been doing alright as a single lady, I guess. Pretty independent, self-sufficient, you know. But certain situations remind me of just how easily I can regress into just feeling like a helpless kid.
So, since there’s no man of the house anymore, I revert to what I always do when I don’t know how to deal with something: call mom. (Yes, 32 and this is still my option. You better believe it will be for many years to come, too).
Mom doesn’t really know what to make of the washing machine story, either, though she’s obviously concerned.
Well, you’ll just have to call a repairman to be safe, she says.
This brings up another question for me, but one I know my mom cannot answer: um, who do you call in France to look at your washing machine? What do I even look up in the phone book? I try to imagine who France’s equivalent of the Maytag Man may be.
To hide the fact of my further incompetence, I chide softly. Mom, it’s August. No repairman will even be working this month. (Actually, this is kind of true).
* * *
I took a little staycation in a friend’s apartment while she’s on vacation. I just wanted a new apartment to work in, a change of scenery. (It totally worked! Hardly left the apartment and got so much done!)
Anyway, I thought I’d take advantage of her washing machine while I had the chance. It worked like a dream. Only it reminded me of another weird thing about France – washing machines take forever! When the time flashed as 2 hours 5 minutes, I was shocked. Um, that is a really long time, right? I ran through different options and settled on 40 degrees and 1 hour 45 minutes. Good thing I’m not going anywhere.
* * *
So I have no male friends in Paris. I resort to calling my friend P on Skype and asking him about what to do about the washing machine. He doesn’t seem that concerned by my story, but helpfully points out how girly I am.
He further inquires whether it had been a particularly large load (How did he know?) Well, I admit, it actually was packed to the brim.
Yeah, that’s not good, he says (this is becoming the catch-phrase).
So next time, he tells me, try a small load, stay by it, and make sure you can easily pull the plug out if there’s any trouble.
That’s not dangerous to try again? I ask. It’s ok to just pull the cord like that?
You’ll catch it before anything happens. You’ll cut the energy source. So yes, Sion, you’ll be fine.
I’m not convinced, but I have to admit: in cases like this I just like being told what to do. So thanks, P.
I haven’t yet tried it out yet, but I will have to soon. Unless I can hold out until September 1 when I have a new roommate moving in. Someone for moral support when confronted with these domestic trials. (Or should I be worried? Simply someone to witness my foolishness?)
Oh boy, she’s going to love living with me.