Clickety-clank clunk. Rattley-rattatattley-roll. Clang-y-clang-y-clang. Tink.
I don't expect a jackpot.
Lately, the mechanical churn of the clothes dryer has been anything but dull in my house. Mid-cycle, the machine begins to resonate with the sharp metallic sounds of chaos.
I tend to follow the head-plunged-in-sand form of household detective work.
Had I been driving in my car, I would have held my breath and turned up the volume of the radio.
Had I been laundering sneakers that manage to kick their way free, I wouldn't have given the struggle a second thought.
The dishwasher made some noise last week that did sound right. I didn't even flinch. After all, what could that thing possibly do to me that is worse than not washing the dishes properly anyway?
But all this dread piling on pokes my consciousness into higher awareness. Has something else gone awry? Has an integral part shimmied free from the clothes dryer's bindings, sounding an alarm that catastrophe looms?
I've already managed to work around the door with a few screws missing. If I push it upwards as I slam it closed it will find its perfect fit.
The untimely death of its motherboard could orphan our bulky loads permanently.
No need to panic just yet ...
More likely it's just some loose change or a treasure stashed and forgotten: a drill bit; or a rock shaped like something extraordinary ... a heart, no doubt.
It is the rare resident who empties their pockets before tossing the day's togs in the hamper.
Not that I ever check to see if there is anything of value mingling within. I just stuff the lot of it unceremoniously into to the tub. Whites, Darks, Delicates? Pre- and spot-treat your garments? Psssssssssshaw. You are old enough now … but feel free to lodge any complaints with my wholely imaginary toll-free line: 1-800-DO-IT-YOURSELF!
Not that the toll-free line doesn't accept the other parent's credit no matter how much of his cash I have laundered over the years in these very machines. ...
You know ... like the two-day-old iPhone that inadvertently took a swim with the husband's work clothes … .
And the countless clothes (as well as the inside of the dryer drum) permanently marked by all the miniature sharpies a certain someone left in his pockets.
I'd like to think all the money that wound up in my coffers was figuratively a wash.
The room suddenly goes silent. An error message blinks unexpectedly.
I'm not worried. Sometimes it does that. Every device in the house harbors its own quirks.
I open the door, slide my hand into the whirl of warm fabrics, and check for dampness.
"Just a little bit longer," I tell the machine as if a soothing tone will make all the difference.
I reposition the clothes, reset the controls, and press Start again.
Once more ... with feeling.
This time the dryer comes to life, cascading the fabrics effortlessly and without the sinister clunking.
This alone makes me feel as if I won the grand prize. Not that I expect a jackpot, just a couple of quarters when this cycle finally ends.