Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter! Or something.

Can I say something difficult on my blog? I ask myself. Yes, I tell myself. Like the man on The Road always says to his son when he wants to do something that might bring him a sliver of relief in a hopeless world, of course you can. Of course you can.

(An aside: the only criticism I have of The Road is that it would have been better if the man had had a daughter, as then there would have been less chance of personal pronoun confusion. I guess this is a novel that would work better in Finnish, where, I gather, they have a case for everything. Though I can't imagine the Finns letting the world get to that state.)

So. I didn't get up this morning. I lay in bed all morning: it was chilly, I had a good book to finish (not The Road, I finished that on Thursday, another good book), and I never get up in the morning if I don't have to.

I got up early this afternoon, planning to make coffee plus cheese-and-mushroom-and-tomato on toast. Mmm. I padded downstairs in pyjamas and a big jumper, thinking that I might never want to get up, but life's not so bad really.

Then I found that the dishwasher has broken again. That's the third time in six months (though it's something different this time: this time it hasn't drained -- the pump's packed up probably -- leaving 2-3 inches of cold, greasy water in the bottom). Housemate C had missed this when she emptied and re-filled it.

Easy to miss, I guess, when it's not your dishwasher (and I am not having a go at housemate C here). But I don't miss these things. And I feel it's my responsibility to sort them out. I should not be overwhelmed by a packed up dishwasher. We have a sink, we have hot water. Nothing is fundamentally threatened.

But it was, somehow, overwhelming. I hauled everything out of the dishwasher, and washed it all up badly. M shouted down that he was trying to have a shower (the shower only works when there is no other water running -- another entirely surmountable obstacle but one which gets to me far more than it should). I shouted back. By the time he came down to make breakfast (and it was totally my turn, and it was way past breakfast time), I was sitting in my red bucket chair, my arms curled round my knees, fat tears rolling down my cheeks.

I don't understand, I said, why the world can't work better. And it upsets me so much that it doesn't. How do you know what to buy? How do you know who to trust?

I'm sorry, said M. I can't do much about it, but do you want to go out for lunch?

I did. We did. We went to Shiraz -- a known quantity in a scary world. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Much later, I rang my mum. We had a long chat about, among other things, dishwashers, weddings, madness, the weather, and the power of novels. Oh, and my dad's earache. She poked him awake to talk to me. I tried a variant of his own joke on him (How many ears does Mr Spock have? Three: his left ear, his right ear and his final frontier) but quickly retreated. And before long I was back on the dishwasher-as-life metaphor.

Looks like you bought the wrong dishwasher, he said.

Dad, I said, it's a Bosch!

Well, said my Jewish, avowedly apolitical, always-knowingly-understated father, I'm not sure you want to trust the Germans, dear.

The older I get, the more I get the point of literature.


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Blogger nuttycow said...


Hope the world looks a little rosier today. Eat chocolate. That *always* works.

12:32 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

I can take or leave chocolate, actually -- I'm a bit odd like that. But a couple of pints of Turf Tavern Summer Ale (named for hope rather than experience, obviously) with the lovely A, plus a packet of salt & vinegar, and I feel like a new woman.

7:29 pm  
OpenID crinklebee said...

A dishwasher, you say? For some reason I had you down as an arch Luddite where washing-up was concerned Joella.. but then that is proably because I imagine you being to many intents and purposes a female version of me and the dishwasher is one labour-saving innovation I have never succumbed to (even at the cost of undertaking to do nearly all the washing up myself, which is fair enough as Charlotte does most of the cooking).

Am going to restrain from any general comment with regard to the deservedness or otherwise of the Tuetonic reputation for mechanical efficiency... but I will say that our Bosch washing machine has lasted ten years with hardly a repair. The only blemish is that the outer knob has fallen off, with the result that it takes five minutes of heaving with one of Frankie's toddler-sized table knives at the exposed crevice where it used to be to get the damn dial around to where you want it to start from. But I can hardly hold that against the Germans, it's more our own inefficiency in not spending a half an hour sometime sorting out this minor annoyance once and for all...

11:31 pm  
Anonymous cookie said...

I've always loved your Dad dearly. He can say it all, so succinctly!

10:33 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Jonathan: let's just say that when I first cohabited, my mum bought me a dishwasher. I did initially protest, but she said (and this is a line I have often quoted): "If you're going to live with a man, dear, you're going to need one of these". And I would say she was bang on. My relationship with that first dishwasher was not always a healthy one, but that's a whole different post. If not a book.

Cookie: I know! I wish he had a blog...

11:27 pm  

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