Friends of newly co-habitated couple, Sarah Smith and Jonathan Friend, were shocked this past Friday to learn the dinner party they’d been invited to at the couple’s new apartment was really just an excuse to show off their appliances.
“We were really looking forward to the party,” reports Sasha Liebowitz. “We hadn’t seen either of them in awhile, and who can resist Sarah’s famous stuffed mushrooms?”
“Don’t forget those mini hot dogs,” adds her husband, Seth. “I’d drop anything for one of those.”
But it quickly became clear the couple had other ideas in mind. Upon greeting each of their guests, Jonathan immediately gave the men in the group a rare inside look into the capabilities of their security system, which is conveniently linked to the thermostat and can be operated remotely and blah blah blah who the fuck cares? He then showed off a range of devices, from the wireless entertainment system to the speakers he’d had wired into the bathroom so he could listen to his iPod even while on the crapper.
Sarah, in the meantime, took the women through a wide range of gender-stereotyped appliances and houseware, including both her locally sourced, organic cotton sheets and her automatic shower door, which can be opened and closed via Siri.
By then the guests were getting restless. Reports Liebowitz:
“At eight o’clock they moved us into the kitchen and I thought finally, we’re going to eat, but instead we spent half an hour longer learning about the many features of their Energy Star refrigerator. I guess the LCD screen was pretty cool, though I’m not sure why it’s really necessary. I mean it’s just a fridge for Christ’s sake.”
For the men, the experience was just as miserable.
“It was one thing in the days when being a ‘real man’ meant talking about cars like you gave a shit,” friend Eric Fredrickson complains. “At least that I could look up on the internet. But now with so many feature-rich appliances targeted at our up and coming demographic, it’s like there’s no end to the parade of products I have to pretend I’m interested in. I lost my entire Thursday evening prepping for shop talk only to be taken off guard by a blender with Wi-Fi capability.”
Adds his wife, Laura, nervously: “I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when they get pregnant. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll be happy for them, of course, but I just don’t know how much talk about the newest high-tech breast milk-warming machine you can activate remotely with your smart phone I can take.”
Here Laura stops for a moment and becomes more thoughtful. “Actually, that would be pretty convenient.”
“And time saving,” her husband adds sadly. “The point is, I never knew an espresso machine had so many settings, and I still wish I didn’t know.”
By the time dinner was finally served – “The chicken was a little dry,” reports Liebowitz, “I guess the automatic chicken moisture thermometer wasn’t up to the job” – almost everyone in attendance was texting or playing Angry Birds on their smart phones beneath the table, grunting yeses, nos and the occasional, “Oh my god, who gives a fuck?” where appropriate.
But neither Smith nor Friend seemed to notice, smiling blissfully and holding hands over their top-of-the line, stainless steel, motorized lazy Susan.
“It’s BPA-free,” said Smith, smugly. “And made by a local craftsman who donates all proceeds to that Starbucks charity.”
When asked for comment, the one bitter single friend in attendance had only this to say: “I congratulate Smith and Friend on their newly realized joint purchasing power and wish them the best of luck when shopping in the future.”
As for the rest of the couple’s friends, who were all secretly hoping to avoid the duo for several months, they were disappointed to find an eliminate paper waste e-card in their inboxes the next day, inviting them on a weekend trip to wine country.
“This is great,” responded Frederickson. “Just great. Now I have to spend my whole weekend researching grape types.”
Leah Kaminsky is a short story and freelance writer. She received her MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Washington in 2009, has placed three times in Glimmer Train top 25 lists and was nominated for inclusion in Best New American Voices, 2008. Her work has appeared on or in Blackheart Magazine, The Rumpus, Pindeldyboz, The Yellow Ham, In the Snake Magazine and Structo. She posts short-shorts and comics semi-regularly on her website, and is in the midst of launching Just Start Applications, a business, college and graduate school consultancy, which works with students worldwide entirely online.