These days, you hear a lot about “binge-watching” TV series. Rose is a binge-watcher extraordinaire, from Mr. Robot to Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Needless to say, I lack the attention span for a viewing marathon, and frankly prefer my entertainment spaced out a bit more anyway.
Turns out that three year old Aiden is also a binge-watcher. Actually, he watches the exact same thing over and over, day after day, until he has all the dialogue memorized. This has been true for Thomas the Tank Engine, also Peppa Pig.
But nothing so far has captivated him like a 1987 animated film that his dad had also loved, back in the day: The Brave Little Toaster. This quirky cartoon classic features a vacuum cleaner, a lamp, an electric blanket, a radio and, yes, a toaster. The friends have been left behind at a no longer used summer cottage, and decide to set off in search of their “master,” the little boy who used to live there. The chatty objects endure many setbacks, until at last they are reunited with their beloved master.
It is a hoot to watch Toaster with Aiden, who now says every word out loud right along with the movie. I can handle a daily dose of his current fave flick because it is so well done, and eventually Aiden will move along to something else.
But can I (move along, that is)?
The Brave Little Toaster really resonates with me, because I have a strange tendency to assign thoughts and feelings to my appliances and other inanimate objects in my life. I am loyal to them for years, decades even, and imagine them as part of the family, from the ancient clock radio/cassette player combo that still sits on our night table, to the electric skillet inherited from my mother-in-law that dates from the 1960’s. When my laptop computers die, I keep them around because I just can’t bear to part with them, remembering the many hours I pounded out essays and skits on their keyboards.
This week, we are preparing to welcome a new refrigerator into our lives. Even I had to admit it was time for a change when the inside fridge temps reached the high 50’s and everything in the freezer melted. But I will miss our old model, and cherish the memories of childish artwork, postcards from traveling loved ones, and my newspaper columns, decorating its door. And the Amana—will it miss us, as it’s carted off? Will it reflect back fondly on Ya-Jhu’s soups and Evan’s marinades? Who knows? It stands in the kitchen, silent save for the faint whirring of its faulty motor. There will be a sleek replacement soon, but it will be awhile before our new Whirlpool stakes a claim on my heart.
So farewell, my frost-free friend! I thank you for your service, and hope, someday, someone will be able to repair you, and come to love you as much as we did. Happy trails!