We have a fan in our living room with a mind of its own. It’s one of those tower fans. It’s black and silver and stands about three feet tall.
We have no air conditioning, so our fans are kind of important to us, and we have quite a few. There’s one in the kitchen, two in the living room, and at least one in every bedroom. We don’t have a lot of luck with fans, they never seem to last very long. They’ll develop an ominous rattle, then the lower speeds will stop working. or they won’t rotate. At least three of them died last year, and another is on its way out.
But back to that living room fan. It has a remote control, which I think is kind of silly so I tend not to use it. This afternoon I got up out of my chair (!) and walked over to the thing and pressed the power button. Nothing happened, so I pressed it again. The fan turned on, ran for a few seconds, then turned off. The next time I pressed it the fan stayed running, so I pressed the “rotate” button. The fan turned off. I gave up and used the remote. That didn’t settle the matter though, since the thing will turn itself off or on if the cat brushes it, or someone gets too close when they’re answering the phone.
My mom has a lamp with a similar condition. It’s one of those lamps that turns on when you touch the base. Its also got a three-way bulb so it gets brighter every time you touch it. It’ll go on or get brighter or turn itself off every time the phone rings, or there’s lightening, or someone sits too close to it.
Back in ancient times, when I started work as a programmer, I was assigned the oldest computer terminal in the building. It used to start typing letters at random. I’d have to pick up the keyboard and drop it on the floor to get it to stop. I was on a first name basis with Marcel, the IBM repairman. (Once, when he was busy working on the keyboard, having just fixed something in the monitor, I asked him, “Is the monitor supposed to be smoking like that?” He said it wasn’t.)
Now, I like to use appliances and electronic devices, but unlike my father and brother I don’t know diddly about how to repair them, so I tend to just put up with their idiosyncrasies. To me they’re a little magical, and they never behave quite how you expected them to when you saw them in the store. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s all part of the adventure.