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No secrets in a wired household
Plugged in and interlinked
All bent on saving time
Saving precious time

It might have started with BathroomScale, though, generally, she’s careful not to judge. “What’s a scale without her reputation,” she likes to say. “And, really, speaking as a health professional, well we have our code, don’t you know.”

But let’s listen, eavesdrop if you must. It is our house after all.

***

“Health professional?” muttered Fridge to Stove. “Do tell. Honestly she’s no better than a jumped up calculator. Used to be machines knew their place.”

“Truth,” sighed Stove. “These days, they’ll call anything an appliance.”

“I mean, listen to them,” Fridge went on. “There’s Breadbox, banging on about the last of the loaf. And no more pre-sliced it must be artisanal, he says. And Coffee Maker, used to be Choc-ful-of-Nuts was good enough, now it’s got to be shade grown, fair-trade, organic, with a seal of stewardship if you please, whole beans, and she got her eye on attachments that one has. Grinders, water filters, digital temperature control. And don’t get me started on that lot on the counter. The Makers. Good god who can keep them straight any more. Pie Maker, Sandwich Maker, Rice, Bread, Pizza, and Fry Man — though say, he hasn’t been on much now has he?”

“I, I saw him go up to top shelf,” said Stove, choking back a sob. “It makes me feel so, so…”

“Let me guess. Vulnerable? Underutilized,” suggested Microwave. “Dinosaur! Get with the times why don’t you. The age of the overblown generalist is gone. Niche specializations. Wave of the future. Adapt or be used for storage. Now turn on the ventilator before you smoke us all out.”

“Have a little empathy, it could be any of use next,” hissed Fridge. “There, there,” he said to Stove. “We’re still the major appliances.
We’ve seen the Christmas gadgets come and go. Where’s George Foreman Grill? Even calling him the Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine didn’t keep him out of top cupboard. Now where was I?”

“Something about Bathroom Scale and Toaster,” said Stove.

“Oh, yes, that little twit toaster got herself all puffed up, told me BreadBox was down to heels and crumbs. Make sure it’s on the list, she says, and while you’re at it, better check the butter level. Butter?” snorted Fridge. “Sister, I said you must out of the loop, but then, really all you need to know is when your button’s pressed.”

“What is it? Don’t make me wait,” said Stove.

“Doctor’s orders, straight from laptop. Butter’s out, it’s omega-3 spread from here on out.”

“Hate to be the one to break it to you Hothead,” said Microwave. “Tablet told me that ChipCard told her that there’s tracking numbers out. Going to be some fresh faces here. Steamer, Electric Wok, new players coming.

“Allo, allo,” CellPhone chirped through InterCom. “In case you didn’t twig, it’s Friday, how about whipping up a round of margaritas for when we get home.”

“Show-off,” muttered Blender. “Thinks he’s better than all of us, just because he’s mobile.”

“Let him put on airs,” Ice-Maker grumbled. “Put his nose in my business and I’ll give him a new ringtone, see if I don’t.”

“Guys, guys,” implored Router. “Let’s get on the same wavelength.”

“Looks who’s, like, let’s all chip in to maintain the connection,” sneered Air Quality Monitor.

Let’s slip away,
leave them there
early organisms of the Connected Era
(all bent on saving time
saving precious time)
All those seconds saved
Like pennies in an old glass jar
Saved up for a rainy day
But baby, have you seen the rain these days?
Wells run dry while waters rise

Let’s leave appliances large and small
Let’s you and me go out puddle stomping
In our five earth boots
Leave our carbon footprints
like the fossil tracks left by Ms Ples and all the rest
shuffling through the volcanic ash of a passing age
wonder who will pass this time
through the evolutionary bottleneck
Talk about the eye of a needle

I’ll whistle us up song
Sing along, if you know the tune.
Sweet Jane.
Two cats in the yard.
Life, like the rain,
it used to be so hard.

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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