The Aspirational Luddite

Marcus Abel

“No Telegraph!” I bellow as I thunder through the front door. “The paper shop’s been turned into a vaping lounge. They just seem to sell tiny clarinets and suspicious looking bottles of potions. But no papers.”

“They’re E-cigarettes – apparently they’re good for you,” came the reply from upstairs.

“I need a sit down; I had a little run-in with the owner,” I say, slumping into a chair.

I’d found the man a little troubling, he’s got one of those alarming faces like Gazza or Ryder – a physog that never sits still. I was too focussed on his gurning and had to ask for the Telegraph on three separate occasions. It all got a little loud after that.

“Do you need one of your pills?” the wife questions.

“I’ve not had one since Ana Ivanavic sweated up in that tight tie-break at Eastbourne. I’m not having one because of him. I’d like a Capstan full strength – that’s what I smoked when smoking was good for you in the 70s,” I grumble. “Well, the dishwasher’s not working and mum is on her way,” she says.

“Get my pills,” I quickly usher.

I’ve always been a little suspicious of dishwashers – why do restaurants and hotels still get real humans to do it? Is it because they can do in 10 minutes what the dishwasher takes three hours to do? Still the wife had one put in a month ago.

I was immediately startled, as when it’s on it shines a red dot on the floor, so I was convinced there was a sniper at the skylight and was just moments from ringing 999. I’ve now had several lessons on how to stack it, not stack it, use it and not use it – and all this apparently makes me an expert at fixing it.

On first inspection it appears that the thing has turned itself into a domestic cement mixer.

“Your quinoa has pebble-dashed the crockery,” I yell. “There’s enough for a nutritious breakfast for a toddler in this bowl.” The pseudo-cereal superfood had transformed itself into an instant eco wall-covering. I set about the plate with a scraper, eventually removing it along with a chunk of enamel. The superior mother-in-law arrives.

“The thing about dishwashers is that you can’t put any food in them.” She says superiorly.

“What, don’t they wash dishes?” I enquire.

“Yes, but you must rinse off all the food first.”

“Isn’t that washing dishes?” I suggest.

“No, it’s rinsing thoroughly.” She demonstrates a thorough rinsing, which is something remarkably akin to washing a plate, just without the Fairy Liquid.

“That’s a lot like washing a plate.” I say.

“Dishwashers make plates like new, brand new – it’s like they’ve just come from the shop.” She informs me, sternly. “Don’t brand new plates need to be washed before you use them then?” I quip hilariously. Then see the look on her face…

“Could you just rinse the quinoa off these, please?” I ask.