All Washed Up

March 30, 2007

I’ve been thinking of using some of the other settings on my washing machine–the one I use for washing clothes. I’ve always used the Casual setting, because I’m a casual kind of guy and I pass that along to machines I own. They shouldn’t have to work that hard. As long as that big tomato sauce stain comes out very pale pink I’m happy. There’s no point getting upset about it because the only math I know for certain is that white shirt plus Italian food always equals big glop of tomato sauce on your shirt even if you’ve ordered the alfredo sauce and covered yourself with napkins. This has something to do with the quantum physics of tomato sauce, and someday scientists will be able to use it to transport anything anywhere, but for now the best they can achieve is putting a clean white shirt on, say, the Moon, knowing that eventually a glob of tomato sauce will appear on it.

But I digress. In college it was easy: I would wear everything until finally I was going to classes in my bathrobe, and I’d finally break down and sell some plasma so I’d have change for the machines in the laundry. The machines had two settings: Red and Everything Else. It was very important to separate the reds out because otherwise your underwear would turn pale pink, and it would be all over pale pink, not the localized pale pink of the tomato sauce glob. And it would be bad to have pink underwear because we were all hoping someday, somehow, someone other than our roommate would see our underwear. Then there was the girl who washed her cream or eggshell or ecru or just beige sweater in with her white stuff and it came out white, so she washed it again in hot water with an entire box of tea bags. I don’t know what happened to her, just that I definitely did not want to see her underwear.

But I digress. Now my washing machine has a lot of settings besides Casual: Regular, Heavy, Light, Easy, Over Easy, Over There, Medium, Tall, Usurious, Spencerian, Xeric, Adamantine, and Grande. And they all have numbers on them. I have no idea what the numbers mean. The Casual wash has the number 9 next to it, but this can’t mean nine minutes because it takes three hours to go through a single wash cycle. I don’t know what any of the settings really mean either because it’s very important whenever you purchase a major appliance to immediately throw away the instruction manual. I’m kidding about that, of course. No one should ever throw away an instruction manual because they need to go in the recycle bin where they will eventually be pulled out by sanitation workers, forwarded to the companies that make the appliances, and put into new boxes. If you’re wondering why the instruction manual for your new DVD player is so useless it’s because it was originally printed for a blender that was made ten years ago.

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