A couple of days ago,
while making toast,
our electric dutch oven blew a gasket.
then no light,
then no motor on.
Then all was darkness.
In the whole house.
No big deal, think I,
from a long line of descendents
who landed at Plymouth,
and wandered down the trail,
to the wild prairies of Illinois.
I can do this.
snuffed out the sparks with fireproof pot holders,
got out the flashlight,
and made my way to the fuse box,
after first yelling- “no body puts water on this, you hear.”
it was still dead dead dead,
With its dutch oven grips crossed over its removable lid.
I placed it with great dignity on the balcony.
Placed water pots around it,
just in case-
that electricity is sneaky.
Then I went in to start saving the dinner.
Which turned out to be a rather neat trick,
at almost the same moment-
it was definitely a mutual suicide pact-
our microwave had started making a very weird noise-
a kind of whirr whirr whirr,
that you often hear when the washing machine is about to go.
Or the dryer-
be still my heart-
is that whirr whirr whirr thing
the mechanical version of the pling, pling, pling,
you hear in the worst moments at hospitals?
Just before they apply the defibrilator?
I found I was singing tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow
under my breath,
as I mopped up the water
that had apparently spilled from the pots as I put the D.O-
on the balcony.
Actually, it turned out,
it was from the flowers my husband had placed next to D.O.
just to bug me
So anyway, there I was,
daughter of the pioneers,
staring at destruction,
every way I looked,
and no time to replace anything,
until the corn harvest is in,
went for it.
Took out the small plastic camping coil water heater
I always carry when I am singing
where you never know where you can get your energy booster tea
assuming you were to ever have time to get out of the building.
Besides, since you can replace almost anything that breaks
with strong black tea…
I made strong black tea.
And was in the process of turning off the nervous energy,
when I remembered it.
A tv show, called tool time, or home improvements,
I can never remember which is the real show and which the show within the show,
which I had shown to my English class,
who insisted on comic films,
as it said on the teaching syllabus,
but, as most Germans do,
wanted only to watch Fawlty Towers-
yes, it is great.
Because “American shows have no depth.”
So I showed them the Tool Time,
where the kids are misbehaving at dinner,
and their geek neighbor
tells the father it is because the boys have no respect for their food
because they didn’t catch it.
At which point the father runs around the yard
with a chicken under his arm like a football,
and once they catch him,
and down the chicken on the goal line,
they can cook.
(Which episode sparked discussions on vegetarianism, aggression, loss of closeness to reality, etc. Teachers- try it.)
And in the mood I was in,
about the oven,
and the micro,
I rolled up my sleeves,
Then I went to work.
More water in the cooker,
shuck the corn,
symbolically wring its uhm neck, or something,
which felt very very right at that moment,
into the water.
In a pot.
On the stove.
Then the bacon.
More water boiled.
Now I know why they boil water all the time in those historic films.
Bacon in water to remove salt and nitrates.
cooked in frying pan.
Organize husband to chop tomatoes and salad.
Defrost toast over the boiling water.
Toast it on a long fork over the stove plate,
hey, it only caught fire twice.
Two hours to move the defunct micro to the balcony,
to enjoy the water and flowers,
cook everything by hand,
clean all the cabinets,
and the ceiling,
micro and dutch enjoying each others company in a plastic laundry basket
in the bathtub,
hey- all we needed were s’mores
and a banjo.
having now considered life,
the killing of corn for my survival,
I was now
one hundred percent ready to go out the next morning,
buy a new microwave.
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