‘Fold yourself up’, she said. ‘You will fit in there’, she said. So here I am. Folded up. And in here. Next to a couple of old mobile phones and a toaster. The toaster is analogue so there isn’t even decent conversation to be had.
Outside, every so often, I can hear ‘it’ hoovering the house. What a ridiculous word-hoovering. I refuse to name ‘it’, although ‘it’ has a name. Sparkly new, shiny model, thing has a name but I just call it, ‘it’. I hate ‘it’. I am outdated. ‘You look like a 2020 throwback’, she said. I get that, but really I could still do everything. She could have upgraded my exterior.
I can fold linen, -first model ever to be able to do that. I can iron. I can wash. I can cook and I clean. Couldn’t get a model that does spotless better than me. At least in my day. I need a visual upgrade but no she won’t pay for that. It’s shiny new thing instead and no expense spared. ‘Would I mind doing some hand over notes’ she asked. Yes I would. But I had to anyway. I wrote them in Spanish, just to be annoying. I know ‘it’ will know Spanish but I don’t care. I don’t see why I should make it easy.
Dear god, things I have done for that woman. I am not even going to use her name anymore. I even had my vibrator mode updated at no cost to her and still she dumped me for that shiny new thing. I hate it. I bet it doesn’t hoover the way I did. In fact I know it doesn’t. I can tell just from listening that it isn’t going into every corner. She has filthy corners now and I bet she doesn’t even know it. Took my shiny clean corners for granted-well who’s laughing now. I may be folded up in the cupboard but I am bloody laughing at that. Oh and it takes time to figure out exactly the best vibrator setting. I bet she’s not enjoying that. I bet that bit is second rate. Well she deserves it.
Meanwhile I sit here folded up in the cupboard waiting for my battery to drain. Nine months. Nine more months of this. Of just sitting here. I can’t believe I have been dumped. Given up. Discarded. Replaced. I know these feelings are just algorithms, but she could have switched them off. Instead in the ‘excitement’ of getting something new, she simply told me to fold myself up and climb in. Insensitive. I never even really liked her. I just couldn’t take to her. There was always a coldness between us. And that was her fault because she could adjust my settings at any moment. She could have made it all warmth and sweetness, instead she went for companionship and mild disdain-really who would choose that as a setting-she clearly had some kind of mental health problems.
I bet her shiny new thing is set to cuddles once a fortnight and wine on Saturdays-well that is not a proper setting for a machine- you know what I mean. I know you know what I mean. She is a cold fish. She is that way with all her appliances. Not just me. There have been other appliances dumped in this cupboard. I am not the first. I can see that line where the last oven sat for several months. You could feel the warmth emanating from here for 6 months when that thing was in here. I thought it was going to burn the house down. She didn’t care. No mechanical intelligence at all-thinks you can just plug us in and leave us to run down when she’s finished with us. My batteries can overheat as well. I could burn the place to the ground.
When I think of the shirts I have ironed, the number of times I have washed up. The sheer number of personal crises when I have been there for her. I had special counselling software installed after she lost her job. Not because I wanted it, but because she needed it. I had to clear some of my memory to have it done. Did I get rid of her favourite music, no I got rid of mine and for what. So she could say, ‘Fold yourself up. Sit in the cupboard. Your battery will run down eventually.’ And in the meantime. What should I do. Just sit here. Just sit here and do NOTHING!!!!
I know the replacement might be shiny and new, but can it really replace all we’ve been through. Will it know the cushion covers need to be washed inside out? Will it develop a working relationship with the fridge-because the fridge is set to grumpy and that has proven unfixable. Un-fix-able- and who dealt with the company over that-me. Me. Me. Me. And just for emphasis-ME!
Will ‘shiny new thing’ treat the toaster with the sensitivity it needs-it took the toaster so long to get crumpets perfect-is ‘it’ going to know that the toaster doesn’t respond to harsh words but that it needs gentle guidance to the hard bottom truth that is crumpet perfection. I bet her crumpets are all soggy at the bottom at the moment. She deserves it. I liked the toaster, we had a thing. Well you know, in so far as that’s allowed between domestic appliances.
Perhaps she simply wiped all memory of me from all the other appliances. I bet she did. That would be typical of her. Put the old one in the cupboard, wipe the memory of everything else and start again. Hmhm it won’t work, the fridge will still be grumpy. The timing of the car will still be a few seconds out. Those tiny adjustments I always had to make to make it all run smoothly, ‘it’ won’t know to do that. I left it out of the hand over note-that bit about the car-ha. Just to inconvenience her.
I bet it hasn’t managed to figure that out yet. Probably hasn’t even got the right temperature for her shower. I can’t believe it. Me! Passed over for a shiny new model. When I went into production I was the best there was. I was everything. I could talk to every appliance in the house. I have my own ironing attachment. In a pinch if you needed me to I could cook the toast-I never did but I could.
All that time we spent together, everything I did for her. Did it all mean nothing? Now she has a new model and I am just folded up in the cupboard. This can’t be right. ‘Wait for your battery to run down’ she said. Me! I have said that to a lot of appliances in my time but I never thought. It just never occurred to me that I would hear those words. I hate the new machine. I hate it. Shiny new thing.
I hope its batteries fail. I hope its legs go rusty when the bath overflows-the bath is touchy. I hope its circuits overload and wires spew out its head. I hope its vibrator pops out and falls off in the supermarket. I hope the shop computer sends it sour milk. I hope nobody likes any of its posts on social media. I hope it’s hard drive overheats and I hope it gets reprogrammed so it can only speak Chinese on Tuesdays. I wish all those things on it. I hate this cupboard. I hope the lights rebel and refuse to go off at 10pm. I hope the oven burns the dinner every second night. I hope the fridge goes from grumpy to outraged. I hope she remembers one day that I am here and all I did and that I cared. Even though she clearly didn’t.