Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

writing for parents of the bravest hearts

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

green writing for parents

What color is your agitator?

When Sam was in elementary school, he often asked people what color their washing machine’s agitator was. You would be shocked — shocked, I tell you — how many people did not know the answer to this question.

Many times people were so loving and accommodating. If we were visiting, they would say, “Let’s go look,” and the whole crowd headed to the laundry room. Sam enjoyed that. If they didn’t know, and didn’t suggest to go look, he didn’t obsess over getting the answer. He had picked up enough social graces that he would simply move on. Often, at that point in the conversation, he would share the color of our washing machine’s agitator. For some reason, I was slightly embarrassed the first few times he shared that — even though I told myself that was not the same as sharing other details about the family laundry.

I was never quite sure of his motivations for gathering that information. I don’t remember when he stopped asking for it. I asked him about it a few nights ago and he remembered that it was something he was curious about. “I don’t remember when I lost interest,” he said. He doesn’t remember why, either.

Sam has been researching home automation systems lately. He thinks about accessibility. A person in a wheelchair can’t reach the controls, he says, and an automated system would let them operate appliances by remote control.

He’s so determined, even if it means teaching himself code, which he finds exacting — even for him.

He had been quiet about it for awhile, but I asked him about it again after this video showed up on the browser history when I came home from work.

(Other parents might have to worry about stumbling upon porn. I just get to see a washer with three speeds of spinning.)

I don’t mind him experimenting on our house. And I wonder about how to show off that quality to an employer. He’s a problem-solver.

The current color of my agitator, you ask?

White.

 

2 Comments

  1. Terri Henneke on November 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    And now they make washers without agitators at all!

  2. Peggy on November 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Like at the laundromat! Sam ran from machine to machine at the laundromat when we lived in Rochester, predicting the end of the spin cycles.

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