hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Monday, May 2, 2011

Love That Technology

There was never enough room for a washing machine in our tiny house here, so for the past 16 years or so, I've been doing my laundry at a laundromat across the border. International Laundry R Us, complete with explanations to border guards!

But now we've got this bigger house and we finally got around to buying a washing machine. Given the pressures on water use, especially in the summer here, we were looking at the HE, front-loading machines which are certainly pricier. Then the local energy supplier offered us a substantial rebate and the Home Depot people had a sale, and there we were with this bells and whistles unlimited piece of technology. It even has a 'handwash wool' cycle.

Ed installed it yesterday and I put a load in it--1.5 tablespoons of soap! I read the manual, dumped the clothes in and went outside asking Ed to call me when it finished, a machine-predicted 49 minutes, which seemed a long time, but what do I know compared to the machine? An hour later, Ed called me and reported he had spent all that time watching the washing machine do the washing. I did a second load and found myself standing in front of the machine the whole time, equally puzzled and interested by its extraordinarily large repertoire of movements and sounds. For a process that is just washing clothes, its computer parts do a lot of thinking and adjusting to maximize the just rightness of it all.  I particularly like the little wiggle movement that it does when it is making sure that the load is well balanced.  Lot of thinking going into that decision.

What a surprise to think that a washing machine, which I would have thought of as a perfected technology could be absolutely reinvented.  Made me wonder whether the sewing machine, which (sans computer) is also a perfected technology could also be re-imagined, re-thought through from scratch, instead of just building on what Elias Howe and the Singer Company learned two centuries ago.  What other wonders are out there that could be old rather than new?

I don't know whether this staring at the washing machine will pass, but it is possible that, if it does, we might try buying a TV set.

No comments: