Thursday, December 23, 2010


Way back a long time ago, the British Isles were peopled by individuals who lacked the ability to distinguish between the conditions "dry" and "mildly wet". That, or, over the course of history, people who could differentiate between the two eventually died out among the population, as this characteristic was not necessary for the promulgation of the British Race.1

This is most likely due to the fact that there has never been a documented instance of the condition of "dry" occurring in the natural environment of the greater British Isles.

This, of course, explains why, when I was viewing flats to rent, the agent,2 upon viewing the washing machine, said, "and you have a washing machine, and," squealing, "OOOO, IT'S A DRYER TOO!"

This information I found both a) technologically interesting, as I wondered how one magic British machine could perform functions that we silly Americans have built into two magic machines, and b) perplexing, as it is well known that living without a dryer is a condition known as "hell" in most parts of the world, and such a place would not be let by a respectable agency.

As the majority of my life is spent in a state of utter perplexity,3 I decided to file the information under "strange, but not cause for immediate panic".4 And I rented the flat.

Now, having used said machine, scowl lady, I may not be the most intelligent of your renters, but permit me to explain to you what a dryer is. A dryer is a piece of machinery that dries clothes. The clothes, when they enter the machine are wet. When they exit the machine they are dry.

If, upon exit, said clothes are as wet and clammy as my hands circa the first time I held hands with a women, said machine does not qualify as a dryer. Said machine qualifies as a dampener.

This means that, the next time you are showing this flat to someone, you should announce it has a washing machine, then squeal and state, "OOOO, IT'S A DAMPENER TOO!"

Unless I'm completely incompetent,5 it would appear that the entire nation of London dampens their clothes, then hangs said clothes to actually dry. I don't know what part of "use as much electricity as possible" they didn't understand when reading the civilization playbook, but when you finally decide to become a developed nation, England, let me suggest you invest in machines that dry your clothes.

This also has the side benefit of allowing you to NEVER IRON AGAIN. Why you would hold onto such a task is beyond me. Really, beyond me. I've been wearing sweaters (sorry, you insist on calling them "jumpers") for weeks because of a lack of desire to iron. No, really.

Speaking of things that are currently drying in my flat, other things I love about the UK are bathtubs.

In some countries, one can drain bathtubs by removing the bathtub drain. This has the benefit of draining the water out of the bathtub. You may have seen these in action before. There are a variety of types, but let's focus on the theoretical at this point.

Speaking of theoretical, imagine a theoretical situation in which you move into a new flat, and need to take a shower. One might attempt to drain the tub by unplugging the drain. If one has no idea how drains are unplugged on this side of the Atlantic, one might fool around for a bit, and then one might eventually give up, and sit in the tub and cry for the period of several minutes.

Sensing a need to shower off the grime of travel, one might shower anyways, in the false belief that one can "figure it out later".

While this might appear to be a practical solution to a theoretical problem, let me assure you, fair blog readers, that such an action is not to be considered "wise", for, as sure as I am sitting on my Ikea couch today, that evening will find you bailing out bathwater with a moldy trash can into your toilet.

I can again assure you, fair blog readers, that such an experience is not one to be sought after, mainly because the toilet water splashes up, the trash can is unwieldy, and you spend several panicked minutes praying that your neighbors don't correctly surmise what you are doing.

On a related note, one cannot imagine the incomprehensible embarrassment felt when one must call one's agent and explain to said incapable-of-distinguishing-between-dry-and-mildly-wet agent that one is physically incapable of performing the action that roughly sixty thousand two year olds across the whole of the United Kingdom perform each day, and then further attempt to explain why one has, ahem, not used the shower in a week, and did not, no, of course did not just bail out the bathtub with a rubbish bin. In such a situation, there is little pity for a dumb American with the Master's degree who cannot operate the simplest piece of mechanics in the whole of the kingdom.6

On a more positive related note, this little experience has had the side benefit of forcing me to work out every day. Unless, of course, I can muster up the courage to go in to the gym for the express and sole purpose of showering...

Lastly, Merry Christmas!

1. And according to their racial classifications, they are a separate race. There's British white and other white on their classifications. I would like a geneticist to tell me how exactly someone without a DNA sequencer would be able to tell the difference (aside from the teeth quality...zing! Just kidding! Your teeth are fine!) Of course, I don't know how to answer the question, as there's no mixed British white response option.
2. That is, a person who does absolutely zero to help you, and yet charges you a ridiculous commission and scowls in your general direction should she ever see you. Like, seriously lady? I just paid you two hundred freaking pounds and you can't afford to not glare at me whenever we meet? Would it kill you to at least pretend that such a thing as customer service exists in this country?
3. This is true. I don't understand people one bit. This morning a co-worker serenaded me with Love Shack. That was enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but unexpected.
4. That is, where 80% of information I come across when dealing with people is stored. The rest is stored under 'strange, and PANIC!!!'
5. Please, do not ponder that possibility long.
6. In my defense, it turned out it was broken. And they fixed it. Yesterday.

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