The Wide Angle: Dry spell is over ­— HA! Laundry humor!

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 27, 2021

In a milestone of adult living, we purchased our first washer-dryer set recently, with the dryer being installed this past week.

If these types of purchases were an indication of enjoyment, then the acquisition of these appliances were far more entertaining than buying a refrigerator, which we had to purchase under duress and ultimately turned out to be somewhat dull.

That duress I’ve indicated was that the old one died and we had to act quickly.

However, refrigerators are fairly simple appliances to purchase. Generally, from what I’ve been able to deduce, it comes down to size and whether or not it has an ice maker. I don’t need a refrigerator with an internet connection. I don’t need the government wiretapping my orange juice.

I should have liked to get an ice maker though, for very little reason other than the slight uptick in social status an ice maker brings to a household.

“Why yes, you can have some ice for your drink. Let me just go over to the refrigerator — that has an ice maker — and get you some.”

While ours is a perfectly good refrigerator, it’s not as luxurious as one with an ice maker, and so it was a fairly easy appliance to learn how to use.

Such is not the case with our new washer and dryer.

Our old dryer, that came with the house with memories of when the Bee Gees released “Stayin’ Alive,” was an absolute workhorse if lacking in bells and whistles that would mark it as sophisticated. It had a dial and you twisted that dial to the setting you need for drying purposes and away you go, stayin’ alive, stayin alive, feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’ alive.

Like me, simple, but these new machines are completely different animals with multiple dials to twist and buttons to push.

The dryer alone has something akin to a gazillion different settings that have enough verbage to confound a fourth-grade spelling bee champ.

There are drying times, settings to fluff the laundry if it’s left to sit too long, different durations and a meter that lets you know if the nuclear reactor is about to overheat.

On the surface, something like this is cool and if we are to apply the same indicators to the dryer that I did to the refrigerator, then by rights I should be sufficiently sophisticated and yet … AND YET! … mostly I’m just confused.

I wonder what kind of home professional clothes washer would need this many settings and whether or not the clothes themselves are of an engineering level to require these highly technical settings.

And if the dryer is this full of bells and whistles, then what will the washer bring us when it arrives?

Washing and drying clothes shouldn’t be this complicated and yet here I am, staring at what passes as a manual wondering if there was an internal technical challenge as to how little they could write in order to get their point across.

Well success! A four-page manual that tells me very little and so like an archaeologist bringing together the mysteries of ancient Egypt, I’m left to study the hieroglyphics of modern appliances in a hope I don’t destroy every bit of clothes we have.

As always, there’s a small confidence that I won’t shrink our clothes to the size of action figures, but as we’ve all come to realize by now, I’m capable of just about any dumb thing under the sun.

However, something to help solidify my feelings of extravagance — there’s a light in the dryer when I open the door.

That’s one bright future.