As anyone who knows me is very much aware, from time to time I have difficulty in dealing with practical matters, especially when these matters involve machines or common sense.
My confusion inevitably leads to amused disbelief of my friends.
Sometimes things that seem inherently simple or obvious totally escape my understanding. Occasionally I can end confusion simply by finding things out. But this does not always work. That’s when I season the confusion stew with a dab of frustration.
An example of this is Interstate 27. I have yet to find a suitable explanation for this conundrum. It makes no sense. It’s like discovering an interstate highway in Hawaii or Alaska.
OK, we have interstate highways all over the 48 connecting states. Our newest two states shouldn’t have them because the highways cannot connect with other states. They would have to go across the Pacific Ocean or through Canada.
But Interstate 27 is in Texas. It could possibly connect Texas with any of the four bordering states. So why doesn’t it? As all of us in this region know, the “interstate” runs between Lubbock and Amarillo. It goes about a hundred miles and stays in one state.
I know Texas is big, but even as far as it is across, nothing is interstate until it goes into another state. So, why do we have an interstate highway that never leaves the Panhandle?
Another example is commodes. The more recently manufactured ones have smaller capacity tanks in order to conserve water. Of course all of us around these parts applaud efforts at conserving water, but this specific application confuses me.
If less water in the tank means we have to push that handle down repeatedly to get the thing to work right, how does that save any water?
This brings me to our household refrigerator. It has me really perplexed. That setup on the door is one of my favorite toys, though. It’s also one of the few gadgets around the house I can actually use without fear of injury or extensive property damage.
It has a button for crushed ice, cubes of ice (which are not cube-shape), and filtered water. This ain’t no ordinary tap water, friends and neighbors, this is filtered water without having to buy those little jugs from the soft drink machines. It doesn’t taste any different than any other water to me, but it has to be special considering what that refrigerator cost.
That filter contraption comes with two little bitty lights just inside the refrigerator door. When the green light is on, all is right with the world. When the red one comes on, it’s supposedly time to buy a new filter. Well, that red light comes on a lot, no matter how much we use the filtered water, and those filters cost around $35.
If Saundra and I don’t change the filter right away, the green light comes back on. It couldn’t be that the refrigerator filter people are just trying to peddle a bunch of those things, could it?
I called the store where we bought the thing. The guy didn’t know what I was talking about. I called their repair center, and the woman there said she didn’t know anything about it. I sure solved that one, didn’t I?
Fortunately, the refrigerator confusion, along with all the other household mishaps and breakdowns, has led to one very solid realization: I now understand why, whenever I start to fix something, Saundra announces decisively as she heads across the street, “I’m gonna go get Dave.”
Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail: