The Goddess Speaks
Turns out that new isn't always better
Recently we bought a new TV. This was an exercise as complicated as negotiating a peace treaty. After one trip to the store, I retired from the selection committee, and my poor husband had to figure it all out.
My electronics expertise expires with the terms large or small. But even that isn't what it used to be, and although a TV might be called 42-inch, that doesn't mean the same thing across brands or even in what one is looking at.
Flat is different from anti-flat, HD is different from ordinary D and everything has to be digital and not analog. The digital/analog thing means you have to buy a little black box (much less fun than a little black dress) even if you intend to stay grounded.
The depressing thing is that you can actually get stuck with a too-perfect TV. I know this is true, because we now have one. The picture is so bright it makes my eyes hurt, and the images are so real I find myself trying to shake hands with the actors.
Me, I prefer my entertainment less, well, personal. I like the old black-and-white deal where murder and mayhem are obviously faked, instead of the high-def, superbright, cartoon fish swimming off the screen right at me. It's just too disconcerting.
Annoyingly, appliances have developed shortened lives. Our first color TV was a Sony, and it lasted 30 years. Our second was a Sony and it lasted 15. This is our third Sony, and I am not optimistic about the outcome because the channel changer is temperamental, it has too many options and the technology is changing so fast that in five years this thing will be totally out of date. Like me. These days we seem to buy things with the expectation of break and throw, not with the idea of lifetime and fix.
Sadly, even modern relationships seem to be built on the premise that nothing is all that permanent. I think permanence is a good thing, both in people and in appliances, and I rather like the idea of durability beyond the warranty.
My marriage has lasted 40 years, and my first washer chugged on for most of it, but the lid on my new Maytag rusted in four months. Our personal lives are longer, but the machines that serve us are becoming obsolete more quickly than today's gas prices. My latest washer creaks, and it's less than five years old!
I creak in the morning, too, but at least I deserve it - I'll be 60 this month. I seem to be tougher than my washer, and I'm certainly not durable stainless steel, though I wish I was a little less on the cheap tin side of that scenario.
As it is, I'm a veritable vision of stains, spots, blotches and bumps - but my lid isn't rusted yet, and I can still dance my way quietly around a pile of laundry.
Cris Rathyen teaches English at Moanalua High School.
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