Right before Christmas, our washing machine bit the dust. What we originally thought was a fairly straightforward DIY fix to replace a broken front tub piece turned into a “we can’t DIY our way out of this” situation pretty quick as soon as we took apart the tub assembly. In a nutshell, the use of two different metals between the tub (stainless steel) and the spider/shaft assembly holding it together (not stainless steel) had resulted in catastrophic corrosion that caused the entire piece to break apart, killed by the last high-speed spin cycle of towels and sheets.
Mark, relishing this opportunity to try to salvage the machine, looked into ordering a new tub instead of buying a new machine but we could not justify the cost of the parts, which could have gotten us a new machine anyway.
Now we were left with a broken washing machine, mounting loads of laundry, and the desperate need to stretch out a pair of underwear for at least three days at a time (yes it’s gross, we know).
Shopping for major appliances isn’t my thing. The broken washing machine came with the house, a nearly 10-year old model that looked pretty high-tech to me considering we had lived in an apartment with one of those old school apartment-sized stacked washer/dryer units. Having a front-load unit after using that small, top-loading washer was certainly a welcome upgrade.
But washers these days have so many different features that I fear if machines were to become sentient, washers would destroy us all. All I wanted was a machine that would wash my clothes and wouldn’t cost more than a mortgage payment. Pretty standard, right?
We spent three weeks researching and visiting various appliance stores to figure out what would work for us. I left the bulk of the research and talking to sales reps to Mark because it’s exactly these situations that I become like a scared, defenseless animal. Whereas he was happy to go from store to store to bargain and haggle for the best price, I was more like, “oh please let’s just buy the first one that seems decent and call it a day.”
You know as you get older, the amount that you care about what people think of you supposedly declines? In theory this sounds great – “I’m too old to give a shit” – but what about people like me who seem to be programmed to care too much about what people think?
Perhaps it’s a cultural thing or perhaps it’s a genetic malfunction. Either way, I have an issue with caring way too much about what others think of me. This resulted in wanting to blend into the surroundings as much as possible, lest I be discovered to be doing something of offense or amusement by a complete stranger and then said stranger laughs at me or talks about me behind their back, “omg I saw the most pathetic Asian woman the other day.” Really, where does all this care come from? I just remember always having this need to be accommodating to those around me, to never be a burden, to always put the needs of the collective above my own. Never offend; always be nice.
This is the reason why I’m not allowed to answer the door if we’re not explicitly expecting someone we know or expecting a delivery (like the time I almost relented to a young dude selling window cleaning services because I was too goddamn nice to say “no, and good day to you, sir” and shut the door). I don’t know what it is, but I can’t bring myself to be firm and stand my ground. Which is why 99.9% of the time when someone from market research calls, I complete their survey, even if it means taking 30 minutes of my time.
It bugs me that I care so much. I mean, nothing wrong in caring a little, right? But at my level, it becomes uncomfortable and creates a level of anxiety for everyday situations that really isn’t necessary. Like when we were at Sears and Mark was haggling with the sales rep to get them to match or beat their competitor, even though the amount we’re talking – for me at least – was not worth the effort he was going through. She did end up doing better on the price, but overall it was only $5 less than our first choice and the washer wouldn’t be available for another two weeks (there was no way we could stretch out our undies for that much longer).
Even though I wasn’t doing the bargaining and Mark ultimately turned down the deal, I was the one that felt horrible. I could tell in the sales rep’s response of “you folks have a great day!” that she was pissed that she’d gone through all that effort for us to not commit in the end. And I felt bad. I felt myself wanting to disappear from the store right then and there; just teleport right to the car so I wouldn’t have to walk through the store to the exit.
This happened a few days ago but that scenario still plays over and over in my head and I feel that same horrible gut-wrenching “oh shit I have offended this woman” pit rumbling in my stomach. To which I ask myself, “just wtf is wrong with me?” So who cares if she had gone back to her co-workers and bitched about us (or she didn’t, who knows – see what I mean? I create these anxiety-inducing situations to get stressed about). She was doing her job and we had no obligation to commit to the sale. End of story.
Buuuuuut… why do I still care and how can I stop caring? People tell me, “just care less”, which is as useful to me as “just not be Asian.” Right. Gotcha. I’ll get right on that.
For people who are able to not care or care less than I do, please impart your wisdom and share your advice.
In the end, we came out of this with a new washing machine that we’re both content with. We now have clean underwear and I won’t have to worry about shopping for a major appliance until the next one (inevitably) breaks. But I’d like to be a little less care-y to save myself from tumbling back into the “I care too much” cycle again.
Too bad I can’t put myself into the machine to wash the care out.