It had started with a wash. A 40°, 1.5 hour, dark wash to be exact. Lucy had heard people say, and had said herself a fair few times, that “if you think you’re crazy, then you probably aren’t” because crazy people, don’t know that they’re crazy right? She thought that meant that as long as you had a firm grip on what was considered normal, then you were most likely sane. What she struggled with however, was that if a person, who had a definite knowledge of what was considered appropriate behaviour, began to have what they considered to be abnormal thoughts and irrational imaginings. Then were they still sane? Then she imagined that a problem may occur if a person began to have trouble separating their rational thoughts from the ones that weren’t and deciding which ones could reasonably be acted upon. And, what if they weren’t sure if these thoughts were normal or not? Could they ask somebody? What if that person thought they were crazy? And if one person considered them to be crazy, were they?
It was a Monday night when it first happened. They were sitting on the sofa, Lucy in her pyjamas, half watching the T.V and half reading the newspaper. She could hear the whiz of the washing machine in the kitchen. It was definitely a whiz, not a whir like most washing machines, this one sounded, all of the time, as if it were about to take off, blow a hole in the roof and launch itself into space and a galaxy far far away. It had gone from rinse into spin. She noticed this when she picked up the remote only to find when she pressed the volume + button, that they had already been listening to the programme at full volume. She commented on the volume of the washing machine. She wondered if it was getting old. She thought that Elliot wasn’t really paying attention when he disagreed, with a nonchalant shake of his floppy haired head, that the machine seemed to have been spinning for longer than normal.
In that moment, the noise instantly burrowed it’s way under her skin and irritated her enough to make her drag herself up from the sofa, where she’d not long got comfy, to check it out. She got to the machine, hit the pause button then crouched to look at the dial. The blue digital display window showed 0:11, typical. She waited for the mechanical click of the door; not that long ago she had discovered that impatiently pulling at the handle served no useful purpose. When it signalled, she pulled out the washing and went back to the sofa, dropping the damp load onto a nearby chair as she went, grumbling to herself mutely. And as she plonked herself drearily back into her spot, noting that Elliot had been entirely oblivious of the whole process, she began to wonder: was the machine really spinning for as long as she’d thought? Was she simply driven to distraction by its whizzing, which had never really bothered her that much before? And if that was it, then why did it irritate her so much on that night? And was the fact that she was still thinking about it on Thursday morning a sign that she was in fact completely cuckoo?