“It’s time,” she said.
“But, are you sure? Are you sure you want a new one?”
“It’s time.” SWMBO turned and walked away. I dutifully headed down to the local appliance store, as I prefer to buy from small local businesses. After being informed by the six people standing around the counter that I had to wait for Sam, who was on the phone, because he was the guy who knew stuff, I stood there for about ten minutes, until I realized that I wasn’t the first person in line for Sam. There was another guy also waiting for him, so I would be after the guy.
Much as I like buying locally, I’m not big on waiting. I’m especially not big on waiting when there are six people standing there not helping me. So I walked out, crossed the street and went down the block to the local hardware store. One local merchant was as good as another.
There, a young man who was thinner than Dr. SJ and wore his baseball cap backwards, still with a sticker on the brim, introduced himself as “Colin” and immediately offered to help. The deal was struck within a few minutes. I bet I would still be standing at the other store, waiting for the guy to get off the phone.
More than 20 years ago, I bought my first Weber Genesis grill. At the time, it was the grill to get, better than all the others. Why wasn’t clear, as it was just a grill, but that was the one, and so that’s what I got. More than 20 years later, it was still working. It originally came with a red wood handle and shelf slats, which rotted out fairly quickly.
I replaced them with the plastic ones that Weber started using on the model soon after I bought mine. Apparently, the rot problem wasn’t just me. I was never a fan of plastic, but then, I was never a fan of rot either. Since the grill was otherwise working great, there was no other choice.
Over the 20 plus years, it served me well. We grilled all the time, winter included. When I shoveled snow, I always shoveled a path to the grill, because there was a good chance that we would be using it for dinner that night. I never bought a cover, as it seemed pointless to spend all that time covering and uncovering something used so often. The grill never seemed to care.
That’s what a top of the line, fancy, expensive grill looked like back then. It was, for lack of a better word, a pretty fancy grill. For those inclined to give a damn, it was the grill of choice for yuppies, who bought clothes because of the name on the label even if they could get the same thing for half the price without a name. In retrospect, it was good buy. Not too many things last 20 years anymore. I got my money’s worth out of the ol’ Weber.
But the burners were starting to fail. It became increasingly hard to ignite, required massaging, the occasional match, and then there was the rust. When the “crossover ignition” piece no longer crossed over, Dr. SJ told me it was time. She reached her breaking point.
Twenty years later, I wondered whether it was time to consider a different make or model. Things change over time, and maybe there was another grill that would sear meat just as well for a lot less money. The Weber Genesis was still being made, but the price had doubled, and it wasn’t inexpensive before. Nope, she said. It lasted 20 years, and that was a good enough reason to stick with Weber. So a new Weber Genesis was what I bought, to be delivered the following weekend.
It arrived yesterday, and it reflected what’s become of things over the last 20 years.
The grilling surface was a little larger, though not much. The crossover ignition, a big feature 20 years ago, had been “new and improved” by being eliminated. The burners were turned 90 degrees, now front to back instead of side to side.
When the delivery guys left, Dr. SJ came out and said, “what is that thing? It’s so . . . big, pretentious.”
The grill was pretty much the same as it was 20 years before, but the appearance was entirely different. By enclosing the bottom, but making the two “wings” appear to be massive when they were nothing more than hollow sheet metal, they took the same grill and created the faux appearance of substance. It looked massive. It seems much larger, more substantial. It was all an illusion.
And then there was the shiny. Grills used to be black or green. Now they came in stainless steel, which was a huge upcharge. It was supposed to make them look more industrial, because industrial meant they were more serious. Except the steel used was thin and cheap, and discolored immediately. We had friends who bought stainless steel grills, and they were invariably dirty and stained. Instead of exuding shiny, they just looked filthy. Who wants to eat from something that seems dirty?
Colin tried to upsell me on the stainless steel model, but I told him, “nope, black will do just fine.” But even the black was covered in stainless steel. I guess it’s supposed to make the grill look more impressive, so that I won’t feel foolish for paying so much for a grill.
We didn’t cook on the grill that night. I have no idea whether it actually sears meat as well as the old grill. And it will be another 20 years until I know whether the new grill is made as well as the old grill was. Later in the afternoon, after the new grill was delivered, Dr. SJ and I went outside and she said, “what is that massive thing?” I told her, “you’ll get used to it,” as she shook her head.
I just hope it works well, as I know she’s going to mutter the same thing every time she sees it. That’s how she is. If we made the right choice, I’ll be hearing that for the next 20 years.