I spent some quality time with my washing machine this weekend. I went down to switch the washed clothes to the dryer, and I was greeted by a flashing red message: "dL." I puzzled over this momentarily, and did what has always worked in the past: pushed a bunch of buttons. When that didn't achieve the expected result of starting the machine back up, I pushed more buttons and then fell back on my second line of defense: I swore. When a third flurry of button pushing brought the same flashing message, I went back upstairs to consult a different set of machinery: Al Gore's Internet.
I was pleased to find a number of entries that listed my malfunction, or rather the malfunction on the washing machine, and I began to read. There were a variety of opinions, but most of them centered on the failure of the locking mechanism of the door lock. I was gratified to discover the meaning of the secret code, but was troubled by the wide variety of solutions offered by so very many experts. There was even a link that offered consultation with a Whirlpool technician. Curious, I typed in my problem. After I was prompted to insert my machine's make and model, I was then told that if I would simply enter my credit card information then the friendly and experienced technician on the other side would give me a gaurunteed answer.
I backed out of there before my identity and bank account were sucked into the void. It was then that I stated thinking about armageddon. Not Judgement Day, since that seemed to have passed without too much strain, but according to Sarah Connor, it was way back in April when Skynet became self-aware. Only, I don't think that the machines got together to launch an attack on humanity. I think they all got together and decided to start messing with us.
There was a time when you could take a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to most household appliances and get them to do your bidding. Now they all come with some sort of added cleverness that make them more convenient to use. Until they stop. Now, with my years of applied software and hardware experience, I was stuck with a bunch of half-damp clothes and a big grey box that was not cooperating with me.
Then I looked at one more web page. One that suggested "three quick solutions to dL messages on Whirlpool washers." I skipped past the first two, which were essentially combinations of my button-pushing/swearing technique. The third one suggested hitting the back right corner with my fist. It was elegant in its simplicity, positively Fonzarelli. I went back downstairs and sure enough, one solid thump did the job.
And so my fears of a mechanized future have been waylaid for the time being. I'm looking forward to this summer when Megatron shows up again. It's my guess that a good whack upside the head will turn him back into a perfectly obedient toaster oven.