The more time I spend at home, the more bad things happen to me. We thought that having an untidy home was tragic, but then we tried to make it too tidy. Today at midday, I started making mashed cabbage. No, I don’t like cabbage. I hate it. That’s why I mash it with the blender. To hurt it. Everything went smoothly. It sounded like a chainsaw, and the cabbage screamed in agony as I furiously ripped it to shreds. Every now and then I would yell, “Surrender, cabbage, or I’ll tear you up,” and start laughing my head off. But suddenly, the blender shorted out and stopped working.
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After the initial shock and still with a trembling voice, I called the Technical Service and, against all odds, I had a conversation with a human being for the first time since the confinement began:
“Good morning. My blender has shorted out and stopped working.”
“Well, let’s see. Since when has it been acting up?”
“It always has. It splashes when I make meringue. If I don’t make meringue, it splashes, too. This morning, for example, a nice sunny morning, the birds were singing on the neighbor’s roof. He moved and lives across the street now, because he married the baker’s daughter. She’s the sister of the guy who used to buy the newspaper at nine in the morning before going to church. The baker was a nice lady. She passed away a few months ago choking on a crust of bread. At the bakery they tried to help her swallow by feeding her ham and tomato to go with it.”
“It’s been a while since you last spoke to anyone, isn’t it?”
“It has. What makes you say that? I feel like I haven’t spoken since the first Chinaman to ever set foot in Wuhan sneezed.”
“I can just tell. So, well … does the blender work or not?”
“It always has. It splashes when I make meringue. If I don’t make meringue, it splashes too. This morning, for example, a nice sunny morning, the birds were singing … ”
“Okay, okay. Hey. Follow my instructions carefully, and take the proper precautions. Okay?”
“I would like to remind you that this conversation may be recorded to enhance your customer experience and that … And that’s when it began to emit a strange, fast noise in a monotonous rhythm for a quarter of an hour … is that correct?”
“Take the blender. Place it with the blades upwards like an upside-down squid.”
“An upside-down squid?”
“An upside-down squid.”
“Well done. Now, very slowly, turn it off and on again.”
“Does it work?”
“Okay. In that case I would call technical service.”
“What? I’m not talking to technical service? Who the hell are you, then, ma’am?”
“I’m the cleaning lady. The technician remote works from the Caribbean. My advice is that you send them an email and then go buy yourself another blender.”
“But why are you doing this?”
“Look, I feel like talking, too, you know? I’m human. The phone rang and … ”
“Yes. I understand. Actually, my blender’s been broken. It always has been. It usually splashes when I make meringue. If I don’t make meringue, it splashes, too. This morning, for example, a nice sunny morning … ”
She hung up on me. How do they expect to build customer loyalty like that? This sort of thing doesn’t happen in Germany. There you talk to a machine, and you’re only passed on to a human being if you are able to insult it for a quarter of an hour without taking a breath and without repeating the same swear word twice.
In the end, I ordered a German blender. On German Amazon. I probably got the order completely wrong. My German was fluent 500 years ago but now it probably sounds more like that Chinaman sneezing. The fact that when I clicked on “confirm order” a checkbox popped up saying, “Before you buy, please make sure that you are authorized to fly drones in the Schengen Area” made me a little suspicious. I checked the box anyway. It’s only the internet. It’s not like someone’s going to come knocking on my door asking to see my bloody license.
Please excuse me. There’s somebody at the door.
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist, and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, the Federalist, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, as well as a columnist at Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau