Friday, July 27, 2012

The Washing Machine Will be Replaced Next Week

Because they are metal, because presumably there is some hour the sun shines directly on them through the doorway that has no door and then they radiate that heat for hours afterward, or else because it is so hot outside it doesn’t matter that they have a little shed out between the parked cars and the dumpster to protect thembecause it is summer in Texas, the washer and dryer for our apartment building are hot to the touch, even as I stand with them in the shade of their little room, slowly realizing that the shade of the shed is the only reason I can stand to touch the white enamel lid of the washer at all, that in full sun I’d be burned the moment I reached to open the dryer door.

They seem especially hot as I’m on my knees this afternoon, head and one arm in the dryer, trying to scrub off the cinnamon gum that has melted to the blades. I wonder for a moment if people die this way, but no, that’s surely ovens, and even then an issue of gas and not of heat.

I first noticed the gum at the end of the wash, the pink strips all free from their paper wrappers, their paper wrappers scattered about all wadded and white and wet. I had pulled these pieces of gum out one by one, thankful they were not sticky, impressed at how well they’d maintained their shape through the spin cycles. I had felt fortunate in having avoided a bigger mess. But gum smeared and stuck to the dryer is different, feels more like an act of aggression, as if the dryer had somehow egged my house and keyed my car. I have been waiting six weeks for the washer to be fixed, one of my neighbors calls the maintenance line every day, and now that there's an email saying the issue has been addressed I'm doing a trial load, and if it weren't still broken in exactly the same way, I might not even care about the gum. The gum, at least, is clearly my fault†, and every blot of my sponge, no matter how furiously I then scrub and pick, makes me see that the injury was not to me but to the dryer, and I am now tending its wounds in supplication.

† Dustin wants it known, for the record, that the gum, and the fault, belong to him.

1 comment:

Just Us Chickens said...

Peanut butter is a solvent for gum, if Dustin ever puts gum in his pocket again. Then, you have to remove the peanut butter, but that will seem easy by comparison.