THE DAY THE WASHING MACHINE ARRIVED
There is too much that needs to change to ever think it is possible to change it all but if I could influence anyone to change even a bit then maybe I would have made good use of experiences I have had, whether by choice or by having experience thrust upon me.
See? I am not really much different than anyone else. I am a person living in a western city, namely, Adelaide, South Australia. What is different about me? Well I am sitting here at my desk waiting for my washing machine to be delivered. Well so what? How many people in Australia have done the exact same thing? Millions probably. It is not even a new one at that. It is ten-years old, but I was told it is a very solid and heavy duty machine that will last quite some time. My partner said I should get the heavy duty one, I am not only a bit rough with machines (they break quite easy around me: take time keeping devices. Watches stop after I have worn them for only a few days - usually within hours. Clock radios never make it through a week, have gone through a dozen at least. I am like a preview to the millennium bug - if it keeps time, it will stop near me. My children keep their clock radios in their rooms and they are out-of-bounds to me. I am not allowed to touch them)
So I await my washing machine. Somehow, now, March 1999, I feel like I may be part of the next century. We have an old black and white television, which works sometimes, a colour television, which works within its own perimeters - like it will go on sometimes and others it won't and of course it shuts down in the middle of a show at times - so we rarely watch television. The other things we just do without - like a microwave oven, air-conditioning, heaters, fans - though our refrigerator keeps going, decade after decade. It tends to freeze everything but we have gotten use to it.
The last car we had died three years ago. I use my partners when we have to get somewhere and pubic transport just can't do it for us. What has changed my life the most not having a car is that I am so much healthier. I walk everywhere. Half an hour to the shop, one and a half-hour to the gym, even sometimes I walk for three hours to my partner's house. I managed to get to fifty plus in fairly good nick, I must say. Of course that is all thanks to not having a car. When we had a car, we drove everywhere - even to the shop two blocks away.
I was going to purchase another car, but then my son went out and became a sports star. This is his third year on the Australian National baseball team. Last year he went to the United States and pitched really well. That little trip ended up in the $7000 plus bracket. This year he is going with the National team to South Africa. Then there are the other trips: South Australian State team, schoolboys team and a few others along the way. In the past fifteen-months he has travelled Adelaide to Brisbane twice, Canberra twice, Melbourne twice, Alice Springs and Sydney. Next month he goes to Perth for the National schoolboys then back to Perth in July before going off to South Africa. He is still fifteen and fifteen year olds are expensive even without the additional sporting trips. The other son is expensive too, as 18 years old tend to be.
Our washing machine died four years ago. I was always going to purchase another one but the years just slipped by to quickly. Then there were the two boys and all that expense. I wash clothes by hand. It use to be alright I suppose, but as my boys got older they began to complain that the clothes were just not that clean. Then I had the terrible habit of having clothes run colours would wander off of one garment and attach itself to another. Teenager's clothing is so expensive. My fifteen-year-old just bought his second $95 pair of jeans in two months. I tell them I can get jeans for $20 - and I am not fussed. I think we have an ideological difference in material values. Last year I bought one of my sons a nice red shirt for his birthday, then it turned to grey after its first washing. Because of all there is to do in life, my method of laundry washing is to soak clothing in the tub over night - if I have time in the morning before hopping onto the train to the city in the morning, I ring them out, rinse - ring again and hang them out to dry. I use my son's baseball bat to stir the clothes around.
So here I sit waiting for my first washing machine in years. Isn't it funny how what some folks take for granted I find to be a major event in my life? Other non-relative facts about me is that I have been a single parent for fifteen years - and do I have a lot to say about folks who say single parent's kids are a mess - not only do I have one of the best baseball players in Australia for a son - but he is also an A student - and my other son is doing well in school and is happy and well adjusted. And my partner has also been a single parent for fifteen years with well-adjusted and successful children. The kids I know of who is a mess come from coupled families. And as if that is not enough - I am a male. I have a lot to say about all the people who say women should be paid to stay home and raise children - talk about turning the world back a few decades. And do I have a lot to say about people who say single parents are lazy and do nothing. Let me see, I am doing my doctorate at the University of South Australia, my partner is doing her psychology degree; I had a successful food manufacturing business for eight years, until I decided to concentrate on getting a PhD. I do art exhibitions tutoring and any work I can to fit into my day. My partner has her own business. But all those things are not what I am thinking about today. I rarely watch television anyway or read newspapers and never look at magazines - I surely do not live like any of the people in any of the advertisements. And I sure could say a lot about how advertising not only makes women into idiots but they make men look stupid too. Not to worry mates - today I feel special - I am getting a washing machine.
March 24 1999 2.30 PM
"©" Terrell Adsit-Neuage.