An Ode to the Dehumidifier

by | Jul 1, 2013 | Productivity Experiments

Takeaway: There is no productivity takeaway here. I humbly present this article for your amusement.

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 48s.

Danby, my dehumidifier.

As promised in my Day Four video, here is an article I wrote about my dehumidifier. (No, I’m not going crazy.)

Across from me is a dehumidifier, dutifully turning air into water, making the air in the room I’m spending 10 days of total reclusion in a little less damp.

I don’t have a lot of things down here. I have a washroom with a shower, a second room with a chair and computer in it, and a third with my bed. There’s an attached room with a washer and dryer, but I hardly go in there, except to fill up my water bottle from the sink. With so few things down here, my attention gets drawn to weird places. Like the dehumidifier in front of me.

If you step down here on a regular day, the dehumidifier is one of the first things you notice. It’s loud, cranky, and its white shell sticks out like a sore thumb against the granite tiling that adorns the basement walls. And it’s a nuisance, too – you can hook some dehumidifiers up to a drain so you can set them and forget them, but this one requires that you lug its awkward, 30L reservoir across the room to empty it.

Danby, my dehumidifier.

Danby, standing tall and proud.

But the thing is, over the last six days in reclusion I’ve grown to love ‘Danby’. I’ve grown to enjoy watching his water level indicator rise with the passing of each day, as he obediently sucks the air out of the room and turns it into water. I’ve even grown attached to his cranky hum. Danby likes to start up and stop all of the time, I think because he’s getting on in his years and can’t read the air humidity like he used to. But that’s okay. We all accumulate scars and eccentricities as we get older, and Danby is certainly no exception.

The other day I became sad when I realized Danby has to spend most of his time down here alone, turning air into water while his solitary, forgotten hum reverberates through a house where 90% of the time, no one is home.

But I quickly realized that Danby is anything but alone. He has countess friends down here, including his cousin!

Unlike Danby, Linty isn’t thought of as a loud but necessary nuisance; she’s actually relatively loved and adored. Like Danby, Linty has a duty: trapping the lint after each load of laundry, and again like Danby, she does it damn well.

Linty is getting up in her years. Unlike Danby (who’s a spring chicken by comparison), Linty has been working for  20-odd years, and while she’s been contemplating retiring for a while, that’s the kind of thing that’s really out of her control. Maybe when she retires she’ll be replaced by a younger, sexier dryer lint catcher, but she and everyone else knows that the ‘new girl’ won’t do as good of a job.


Linty, the lint catcher.

Day in and day out, Danby, Linty and I sit in this room, dutifully turning air into water, laundry into fuzz, and thoughts into words. We all have little connection to the outside world, but luckily for me, Danby and Linty have really warmed up to me, especially after I showed them some of my cool skills, like walking, ‘being creative’, and drinking water (that one really got Danby).

But I think truth is, the real reason they’ve welcomed me is that just like them, I’m down here doing what I was made to do.

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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