05 January 2012

Stupid Purchases

I've made a lot of stupid purchases in my life. We all have. From a dress I fell in love with in the store's dressing room but which remains in my closet, never worn, to a massaging back pillow that broke after one use. I've bought any number of pairs of shoes that fit beautifully when I tried them on but which gave me blisters every time I wore them. I've bought cosmetics that the salesgirl convinced me were the perfect thing for me but which caused allergies once I started using them regularly. I've bought lampshades that don't fit the lamps for which they were meant, subscriptions to magazines nobody ever read. The list is endless. If you're lucky, you can return some products. If not, well, that's what re-gifting is all about.  

The most serious stupid purchase I ever made was a condominium apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. I bought the apartment just after meeting Mark, the man who I knew I was going to marry. So why did I go through with the purchase? I don't know, I was seemingly on an unstoppable course. I lived in that apartment for only about half a year before marrying and moving to New York City. I sold it at a loss and every time I think of that purchase I groan.

Laundry day, tenement style
Yet another stupid purchase — though not as costly as the apartment — was made together with Mark during our first week in Brazil. Along with other necessary appliances, we bought a clothes washer and its accompanying clothes dryer. A clothes dryer would seem like a normal purchase, no? Didn't think twice about it, even though the salesman questioned our buying the dryer. He tried to tell us we wouldn't need one. He tried to explain how everyone hangs their clothes on clotheslines to dry. "The sun is free," he said, in a last-ditch effort to save us the money. We thought he was out of his mind, we weren't going to have our house look like some tenement out of a Jacob Riis photograph. Of course we needed a dryer. You might say we were on an unstoppable course.

The first time I used the dryer the fuse blew. We bought a new, heavy-duty plug and it worked fine for a while, until we blew another fuse. We brought in an electrician who kicked a few tires and told us we'd have to install a separate, grounded electric line. But because our walls are of masonry, installing a new line would entail an enormous project of breaking walls, embedding new conduits, re-building the walls — my goodness, we had barely walked through the door of our new life and we were going to have to start tearing the house apart? No, we decided to hang the clothes on the line to dry — just as a stopgap measure — until we were ready to install a new electric line.

Rusted and pitted and useless
I wish we'd listened to our appliance salesman. We never installed that separate electric line. The only thing we use the dryer for is to pile things up on. Instead, like everyone else, we use the clothesline, which hangs discreetly alongside the house outside the service area, unseen from any point in the house except the kitchen. I've added a new dexterity with clothespins to my skill sets. And I wait like a pro for the perfect day, the one with a good, strong sun and enough wind to get the jeans flapping. Now if I could only find someone to take this dryer off our hands.

1 comment:

  1. The salesman questioned your buying the dryer! Hahaha! That is priceless!!!!