Today's Topic:
The Dishwasher

"I don't have anything to write a column about," I told Sharron.

"Then let's buy a large household appliance," Sharron answered.

"That's perfect!" I said, rubbing my hands in anticipation. "Something will have to go wrong. The customer service at the hardware store will be awful, or the delivery man will be a slob, or maybe what we buy just won't work. It'll be great! What do you want to get?"

"A dishwasher."

Sharron went shopping that Saturday while I stayed home staring at the computer trying to think of something funny. She called me an hour later. "I found a dishwasher," she said.

"Really? Is it too expensive?"

"No, it costs right about what we thought it should."

"Are the customer service people being rude?"

"No, they're really nice, and the guy who's helping me is knowledgeable."

"Oh. Well, is it the wrong color? Is it an ugly avocado green like something from the seventies?"

"Nope. It looks even better than our old one."

"Hmmmn. Okay then. I guess you should go ahead and buy it."

I hung up the phone. I wasn't going to get discouraged yet. There was still plenty of room for something to go wrong.

The afternoon of the delivery came, and I was excited at the thought that the delivery man might show up several hours late. There was a chance he might not show up at all! Comedy was inevitable.

But luck was not on my side; the delivery man didn't even call us to ask us what our address was. He showed up right when he was supposed to. He introduced himself politely, whipped out his power drill, and quickly had the old dishwasher disconnected. I watched him as he carried it out of the house, just waiting for him to drop it on the tile work or ram it into the door frame. He navigated these obstacles like an old pro.

I shook my head.

While the installer was out at his truck, I swept out the empty space under the kitchen counter. As I reached for the back corners, the head of the broom broke off. I felt a spark of hope, but then I looked beside the refrigerator to see that Sharron had already bought a replacement. "Darn it!" I exclaimed.

I finished sweeping in time for the installer to bring in the new machine. He pulled it out of the box and had it installed in record time, as if the dishwasher gods had surrounded him and were guiding his every move. When he put the finishing touches on, sealing the floor plate into place, I could have sworn I heard a chorus of angels in the background singing, "Tada!"

The installer demonstrated the workings of the dishwasher to Sharron, and everything went perfectly. He left with a smile and a nod as if he was Santa Claus, and he was used to being in a world where magic was a part of everyday existence.

I followed him out to the truck, hoping that, at the last minute, maybe he'd have a flat tire and then come back into the house and have an argument with his dispatcher on the phone. No such luck.

His truck made a funny beeping noise as he drove off, kind of like the noise that trucks make when they go backwards. It got louder and louder as the truck drove into the sunset, and then I heard Sharron's voice.

"Bruce, your alarm! Your alarm is going off."

I opened my eyes and rolled over, slapping the alarm clock so hard that I nearly broke my wrist.

"Oh man," I said. "I was totally out."

"You were talking in your sleep," Sharron said. "What were you dreaming about?"

"Just a crazy dream. You wouldn't even believe it."

I got out of bed, rammed my leg into the corner of the dresser on the way to the bathroom, and noticed that I was feeling a little nauseous.

"Whew," I said. It felt good to be back in reality.