Tuesday, November 23, 2004

why doesn't the flashlight work?

Despite what everyone told me, I knew we had a future together. It won't last, said the experts. That kind can't be counted on. I was told that he would be capricious, that he wasn't strong enough for me, that I needed more juice, more oomph than he could provide. That without a cord connecting him to the wall and thus a steady power supply, it could be just a matter of months before we were through.

But my little Hitachi "personal massager", the second in a proud Japanese dynasty ruling the Waterbones empire, lasted years without complaint. Asking only that I keep up a steady supply of readily-available C batteries (I can't be the only woman in the world who's jumped panting out of bed to dig through the junk drawer and strip the flashlight, right? I sure hope my old roommates don't have any power outages any time soon, because they've got a surprise waiting for them), quiet and discreet, tastefully shaped like an overgrown vitamin pill: I bought this one in 1992 to replace the one I had in college (that itself made it through many a finals week unscathed) and it gave me twelve years (!) of dedicated service. Which is about four times what my most serious boyfriend managed, and he had all those pesky needs of his own.

I was starting to think my little blue-and-white friend was immortal, and I was overjoyed that I had a friend I could share him with. Which is how it came to pass that I wasn't alone when Hitachi-san--sporting a fresh battery purchased in haste from a 7-11 on Clement Street, not pilfered from anyone's disaster gear, thankyouverymuch--began the most pathetic imaginable death rattle. First a good solid buzz, then a slowing, then nothing. Shaking helped, but only so much; there'd be a burst of enthusiasm, but within seconds we'd go through the whole cycle again.

I know now what the term buzzkill really means.

It was kind of embarrassing. Fortunately said friend, who thinks I'm a loon anyway, was a good sport about it and we did something else.

The next time I hit the switch, I was alone and hoping for at least a brief, sweet, private farewell. I got nothing whatsoever. Hitachi-san, my friend in many a dark hour, boon travel companion, the point of light in my struggle with tendinitis in my wrists, was well and truly gone.

As I wrote last night to the last person to see Hitachi-san alive, I may bury it, my most faithful companion, in the yard, after a suitably tasteful state funeral. I was thinking about a velvet-lined shoebox, maybe. But in the cold light of day I remember that the yard still hasn't been landscaped, and when they come to do that, digging up a vibrator in a cushioned box could be a little weird. But just dumping it in the trash seems somehow disrespectful. Perhaps I could make a collage around it? Refashion the plastic shell into a dollhouse accessory or a tiny planter?

Rest in peace, Hitachi-san. You were a good friend and ally, and asked so little in return. You may be replaced, but you will never be forgotten.