My former college roommate has a lovely, Victorian-inspired, plaque in his bathroom that shows a pale, thin young lady, plaintively holding a long silk scarf and intoning, "O, DEATH..."
It always reminds me of the opening animation to the old "Mystery" theater which used to air on Thursdays, then Sunday nights on PBS. It was based on the cartoons of Edward Gorey, and was very high camp. So, generally, was the show itself ("Rumpole of the Bailey" being my personal favorite -- sorry, "favourite").
Well, that young lady in the driving rain was me last night when I got home from work. The Maytag had died. No, not a washing machine. An air conditioner. I bought the Maytag window unit at Home Depot about 5 years ago and it had occupied the place of honor in a side window to my upstairs apartment in the ancient Victorian from Hell where I rent, ever since.
I pressed the "ON" button on the remote and, "KAFUT", it died. Dropped dead. Went to meet it's maker. Oh, the lights came on, and you could hear weird noises coming from within, but nothing was moving. Certainly not the fan.
Since I'm a fat, lazy, hot old bastard I am NOT going to live like this. I realize that appliances have become like personal computers, i.e. commodity items merely to be replaced, not repaired. So there is nothing else for it, it has to be replaced. ASAP.
This, by the way, is why there are no longer any manufacturing jobs in America. Everybody wants to buy a $375.00 air conditioner for $99.00. And now we can. Made in Mexico. Or Guatemala. Or some third-world country. Thank you, NAFTA. And they fall apart the day they turn five.
That is why tonight I will replace the dead Maytag with either a LG or a Frigidaire. At least the LG has the advantage of being made in a country where people actually still care about things like quality and craftmanship. South Korea.
I received a lunchtime phone call from one of my friends in NY. Our friend, Mr. "H", has had a stroke and has taken a quick turn for the worse. It looks like rather than lollygagging our way up there for the 4th of July, instead we'll be organizing a hasty trip up to northeast Connecticut for this weekend.
I hope we are in time to let him know -- that he is loved.
One final note on death. I went ahead and scheduled my upcoming bariatric surgery for August 11th without giving it much thought.
It turns out (and I should've remembered this) that that is the birthday of one of my closest friends AND my 12-Step sponsor, "L".
I've had to give him my solemn promise that I will NOT die during the surgery. I hadn't planned on it, in any case.
Another friend of his actually did die on his birthday a decade or so back and he hasn't been quite the same ever since.
I love my friends who are delicate that way.