The Sage Connection

On machine karma and buffering ignorance


Forgive me if I have mentioned this before. Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors. I love the weather. I love the fact I no longer have to haul the hose and sprinklers around the yard. My great-granddaughter and I love to noddle around picking up pretty leaves and interesting pine cones.

We love making decorations out of our treasures.

Lately, it has been windy, rainy and colder so, of course, our heater has refused to work. It refused to work last fall around the same time. Some think this could be my fault – after all microwaves have been known to die when I walked by, and computers and phones often suffered the same fate.

In our household, this is referred to as machine karma. I do not understand why this karma has been assigned to me but there it is.

Everyone else's personal machines work fine, but let the automatic pitcher in the refrigerator fail, or if the freezer alarm beeps non-stop, I am subjected to heavy sighs, rolling eyeballs and the unenviable question, "what did you do this time?

So, I sat out to find if I am the only senior that suffers these indignities. The good news (depending on your point of view) is that I am not.

Many of my friends and acquaintances have the same problems. I have been a single lady and parent for over 40 years and before the advent of the current machine takeover, I was secure in the knowledge that with enough duct tape and super glue nothing could stop me. Now, not so much…

My family has cars with back-up visual screens, automatic parking and somehow, they can send and answer texts and phone calls without touching their phones. My car is 20 years old and has none of these fancy things, but mechanics beg me to let them know if I ever decide to sell it. It runs like a top and I will keep it until I die.

We have an air fryer that nobody but my grandchildren can operate. Everything in the house, from the washing machine to the refrigerator to the microwave and coffeemaker, beeps; I have to run from item to item to see which one is having the latest meltdown and why.

My smart television shuts itself off whenever it feels like it (usually in the middle of the best part of the movie), and it sometimes goes off to 'buffer' itself, whatever that means.  Of course, this only happens if I attempt to stream something. Having never been successful at streaming, I also don't know what this consists of, hence the buffering ignorance.

The vacuum works for a few minutes and then has to be rehung on the charger for several hours before anyone can used it again. We had one of those robot things but it kept getting stuck under the kitchen cabinet so nothing else got cleaned. It went to live at my granddaughter's house where, of course, it works like a charm.

I grew up in a household where we filled our own water pitcher, and the refrigerator worked for 30 years. We have a behemoth-sized refrigerator that holds next to nothing and beeps.

I was very relieved to find I am not the only one with these questions and problems. I am not a dinosaur. I am an intelligent person who just wants things to work. How about you?

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below.   

Editor's Note:  The JOLT congratulates Kathleen Anderson for being honored by the Olympia Host Lions Club as 2020 Lion of the Year. 


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