Saturday, July 25, 2009
Der waschmaschine lives in its own room in the basement. There is a small window above it, gray light filtering down onto a tidy wash basin, a small table to temporarily hold laundry soap, and der waschmachine, half a foot from the concrete wall, stoically waiting. When the laundry is put in, the inner panels connected together, and the outside latch clicked into place, der waschmachine comes alive with a dance party of flashing red lights. Sometimes it comes alive. If not, you must remember to turn the giant button on the wall from "0" to "1." Then der waschmachine is on. Blinking red lights flashing at random intervals on every button. The buttons seem to be grouped: 95, 75, 40, 40 sport, these seem to go together. I push 75, it's sort of in the middle, hopefully 75 won't do too much damage to my clothes. Some lights in the right-hand set of buttons turn off, others begin to flash maniacally. To the right of the numbered buttons are a pair of other buttons, one with a vertical line and one with a horizontal line. I press horizontal-- it seems like the right way I'd want my clothes to spin around, not being tossed up and down vertically. Now the button with the vertical line begins to flash, so I press it, too. Both buttons to the right of that are now flashing, too, so I press them. The flashing stops, but nothing happens. I press the button with a right arrow that looks like a giant "play" icon on a remote control. The display changes from 0 36 to 1h 12. One hour and 12 minutes! Now lights are flashing again. Ach du lieber! I press 40 sport and every flashing red button until they stop. Still nothing. I stand contemplating der waschmachine for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, hoping it will reveal the secret combination for starting, then... BANG! derwaschmachine emits a loud metallic clang, and it is running. I return 0 36 minutes later, and der waschmachine silently gives up my clean, spun clothes.