Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe my dishwasher? All of my appliances, in fact. My husband and I bought them about seven years ago. It was a fun, happy day. We'd been saving up for them for a few years after buying our house. We were excited. (We'd be living without a working oven for awhile!)
The appliances (I won't mention the brand) were mediocre from the start. But worse than the ice-maker continually clogging and the oven taking centuries to preheat was the little look of sadness that would pass over my husband's face anytime he observed my frustration. Not to wax all melodramatic but my husband is the kind of wonderful, romantic guy who loves to make his wife happy and when anything should happen to frustrate his efforts, it really guts him.
The point of blogging about this? Well, seven years since the "big appliance disappointment," the dishwasher has completely toasted out and we have to buy another one. We've done our research, gone to the stores, and soon a new dishwasher will take up residence in our kitchen. I'm excited for the new one but honestly I still harbor a little loathing for the one going out the door. I started fantasizing about going onto one of those consumer ratings websites and blasting the entire brand. Give 'em a piece of my mind, you know? Protect other unsuspecting wives from seeing their husband's woebegone faces when they go out for the big spend and it just doesn't work out but they really can't afford another fix right away.
Then I stopped. First, finding out how to become one of those people-who-rate-things would take time. And was I really doing it to help others or just to exercise my own bile? Because I have the power to give something a crappy score and blow off a little steam? What kind of power is that really? Am I the kind of person who would spend half an hour slamming the rinse cycle of a dishwasher instead of reading to her kid? Or being a role model for griping on the phone to "management" with her teenagers in earshot instead of just sitting down at the table and asking them about their day?
My anger left me. I shuddered at my momentary desire to flex my "consumer power" muscle. I don't complain to my neighbors about their choices in shrubbery or tell my theater friends that I think their blood-sweat-and-tears production came up short. OPINIONS matter. Sure. They can also do damage and cause pain. I've consoled many a fellow author in mourning over a poor Amazon rating or Kirkus slam. I'm not saying that book reviews are not helpful, valid ways to guide readers to good books. As an author myself, I choose not to rate books on Goodreads and, in review-type formats, to only comment on what I see as successful elements of a novel. But the point of this post isn't to revisit the whole "Star Wars" issue. What I am saying is just because one HAS power (in any facet of life) doesn't mean it can only be used in the most obvious of ways.
In sum, when the new dishwasher arrives, not only won't I rate it or rank it online, I'm going to tell my husband I love it. Because my opinion matters most to him. And his happiness matters more than anything else to me.