Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sabotage



“The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

There is a television show I enjoy which features a female housekeeper at its heart. She makes the tea. She makes lots of tea, and offers it in teacups around the house at whim and refuses to take no for an answer.
Making tea happens to be the housekeeper's whole life, and she is utterly devastated one Christmas to be given, by the rest of the household, an automatic tea-making machine.
She is told lightly that her days of making tea are finished.
It is said in such a way as to make her feel better- her position of employment is secure though duties will no longer include anything to do with tea- but they do not know how much she cherishes the business of making tea, of serving it to those in her charge, and it makes her feel dreadful to know she is about to be made useless.
Such is her distress that the housekeeper sneaks down to the kitchen late at night and sabotages the machine with a screwdriver. After it grinds and wails alarmingly and then falls silent, there is an enormous smile on the perpetrator's face. Her work is, indeed, done, and off she goes to bed, knowing that she will be called upon in the morning to make some tea- by hand.
This could well have turned into a lengthy exposition on the importance of work and the necessity of feeling valued. That is all well and good, of course, but unrelated at the present time to my most urgent point: I admit to being a trifle influenced by the housekeeper's desperate actions.
Spouse and I own a perfectly valid and working television, some ten years old and serving its duty beyond all expectation.
It, however, is a hulking great big contraption and in our present state of reducing not just the amount of objects but their size, where possible, it is simply too big.
We have of late been looking- no: staring lavishly- at flat-screen televisions. We make trips to the local stores and we ponder over the few in our price and size range. We are within sight of purchasing one of them, but having trouble justifying such a thing when our own works so awfully, horribly, troublesomely well.
What I fear is that one of these nights either Spouse or I will succumb to irrational temptation and sneak into the living room, furtively pick up a screwdriver and set to work on the television's inner workings, thereby justifying the need for a new appliance.
It might be easier and far less convoluted and complicated, on the other hand, if we- just this once- buy what we are thinking of.

14 comments:

Barb said...

Sometimes you just have to give in to the desire and go shopping.

Go get that tv and enjoy the lovely new picture and donate your old tv to charity which will make you feel good.

Enjoy! B

The Texican said...

I sold my eight hundred pound monster for fifty dollars to the guy who came to hook up the cable . It had a great picture, but it would have been a good prop in the "World's Strongest Man" competitions. We love our HD flat screen. Pappy

hele said...

Why don't you donate the TV to someone who really can't afford to buy one? That way you get to feel good and get a new tv :)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hele said exactly what I was going to say!! there you go - there's consensus...no more agonizing go flat and donate the other you'll be making someone's day besides your own and just think how lovely the housekeeper will look ....

Courtney said...

I agree - no guilt on this - buy your new tv. You can donate or sell for very little your other one. You don't have any family members going off to college or moving out on their own, by chance? If so they might appreciate it...
enjoy the new set!

Paul Merrill said...

We faced a similar situation, about 2 weeks ago. We even went to Best Buy, with the intention of getting a new TV. We even walked halfway to the counter with the new model.

In the end, we went on Craigslist and bought a used Sony non-flat for about $60 that works beautifully. We are keeping another TV out of the landfill. And come digital switch-over in February, we'll just buy the $50 box and be good to go. (After the coupon, it will be $10, maybe.)

And we're about $450 richer.

TheElementary said...

Barb, I like your charity idea. It would certainly make us feel better about the situation.

Texican, that's great, a good idea to sell your television to somebody who was probably more than happy to have it. A good deal all round. Even when they work, they're just so heavy that it's not always worth keeping them. But it's tricky.

Hele, that would help to alleviate our guilt, for certain... craigslist would always work for that sort of thing.

Kimy, "go flat" I love it :) you're too funny. I can't argue with a majority, now can I?

Courtney, we don't have any family in the whole country actually- and most of our friends are on the other side of the country. I think that giving it away/selling it wouldn't be a problem though. There's always somebody who could use it.

Paul, that's very sound advice. The real issue we have is that our television works beautifully- we only watch DVDs on it, and never watch anything else, not ever. The last time I put on the television channels was for an hour when my mother visited last October. So it's like a new television in that respect. We are at risk of exchanging something that may last another 10 years for something that might break down in five. It's so hard to know. The television is already 10 years old and has never given a bit of trouble. We wouldn't know what we were letting ourselves in for if we change it... but that's the case with anything. It seems that you came really close to buying one, and that you made the best decision for yourself. I hope we do the same. Much planning ahead...

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