Remember when Password was a game, not a fixture of life? It fell by the wayside about the same time as Richard Nixon. Almost that long ago, well, only a few years later, I received a microwave oven as a birthday gift from my soon-to-be-ex-fiancé. He fell away shortly thereafter, before my marrying him would have made the mistake permanent, but that microwave has been a fixture in my life ever since.
I learned to cook with that microwave, pleased with myself for saving time, conserving energy, reducing dishwashing and cutting fat. It wasn’t all sales hype; the microwave really did change the way I ran my kitchen.
It’s a huge thing, as big as some dorm refrigerators, but it’s been a faithful servant and a fixture in my kitchen for nearly thirty years. I’m glad we didn’t pay the extra $150 for the one-year extended warranty. It’s never needed service. It’s one of the things that I don’t even realize I assume to be permanent. Like honeybees on clover or trees on the hillside, it just is. It’s been here so long that I’ve never even thought about its not being. Of course, the honeybee population fell off years ago, despite my letting clover take over my yard to feed the few survivors; and the trees on too many hillsides are felled at an alarming rate these days.
My second son, as a toddler running in the house, got a warning from my father: “You better slow down. You’ll fall and break something.”
The little bounder shot back, “You can’t break me. I’m a people thing!” Sure enough, he didn’t fall that day, and the falls on subsequent days have never broken him, either.
I guess I thought the microwave was like that. We can’t break it. It’s a microwave thing.
We wore it out, though. I mean, I guess we did. It wouldn’t thaw cheesecake last night and it won’t cook oatmeal this morning. I’m pretty sure a service call is not in order for a 1984 microwave. It’s just that – I don’t know how to – think about – my day – without a microwave, that particular microwave, with the burned place from a foil-wrapped burger that my little sister put in when the oven was new; with a missing temperature probe that fell down behind the refrigerator two houses ago and wasn’t worth retrieving; with a stand just for it because it takes up too much counter space in our little kitchen and it’s too big to fit under the cabinets anyway. I don’t get attached to things, usually, but I feel as if a piece of my universe just disappeared and left a big-old-microwave-sized hole right there in the kitchen part of space-time. My microwave fell out of existence.
I guess I’ll have to be careful not to fall in, too.