November 23, 2009

tricky relationship

I remember the day G told me he wanted a new microwave. He told me of his affair with the microwave in his office breakroom. How it had a magical popcorn sensor. How, with just the push of a single button, one would extract a perfectly popped bag of popcorn from the machine. I audibly rolled my eyes. I mean, couldn't he just program the microwave for the time recommended on the popcorn packaging and listen for those last kernels like the rest of the world? He insisted that this microwave was so much better than that. This magical popcorn sensor would pop nearly all of the corn leaving nary a stray kernel in the bag. I was not convinced. What I was convinced of, however, was that he was smitten with a new toy. He told me I just needed to see it to believe it. He was sure he could make me a believer. Yeah, him and every late night infomercial host.

Thus, he brought the new microwave home. The old microwave came to rest in my apartment, which I was perfectly fine with, having no microwave at all. I didn't need this fancy sensor cook technology. Unfortunately, the first time I attempted to use the old microwave, it gave off a horrible smell and promptly died. I was again without microwave. G paid little mind, as his shiny new toy sat upon his counter, white and gleaming against the dingy flat white paint and faux butcher block countertops. He eagerly put the popcorn in and pushed the button. True to his word, the little machine popped a perfect bag of popcorn. I was sure this was a fluke. However, night after night she proceeded to do her trick without fail. Harumph. Perhaps I was wrong. I examined all of the other sensor buttons, testing them on various foodstuffs. She heated my tea to a perfect steeping temperature. Browning meat was hardly a feat she couldn't handle. Leftovers were reheated and vegetables steamed with hardly a thought on my part.

She needed little coaxing. One push and she was off. No complicated combinations of buttons. No adjusting power or wondering if I would get food poisoning. If the food contained within needed a little special attention, she would tell me exactly what to do. Stir and recover, I was all over it. Let stand, covered. I could do that! No guessing games. No trying and failing to see what she needed. I had to admit I was smitten.

A couple of years ago, we suffered our first falling out. We were in the midst of remodeling our kitchen, and I was removing our upper cabinets. I got to the last two, those just over our beloved microwave. I uhscrewed the first from the wall, carefully holding onto it so it didn't plummet when loosened. I didn't budge. I thought perhaps its neighbor was holding it in place, so I repeated the maneuver, ready for both cabinets to come loose. They stayed put. I wriggled, shook, pulled, and crowbarred to no avail. I called the hubs to see if he had any advice. He ahd all the same thoughts I did. When he came home we took a look at it, but they weren't coming down. So, we went on our merry way for the evening. We came home to find one cabinet perched atop the counter, the other atop the microwave. Oh no! We removed the cabinets and checked our beloved cube of magic. She had a ding, but continued to work just fine. We loved her despite the cosmetic flaws.

She continued to chug along. I admit, I had begun to take her for granted. I casually pushed the appropriate button with hardly a glance these days. Our exchanges were minimal. Door open, door close, push button, repeat. We were settled into our routine, it seemed to suit the three of us just fine. We were, dare I say, content.

Then it happened. She, apparently fed up with our arrangement, went on strike! Her motor would hum, her turntable would spin, but the corn would remain unpopped. The water would remain tepid. My heating pad would stay room temperature, which was of absolutely no help to me! Every few tries, she would half heartedly attempt to heat the item, but would just give up. We tried unplugging her, and plugging her back in. She would pop a bag of corn then return to her newfound sullen state. We tried to talk to her, push some extra buttons to no avail. It was clear. It was over. She had moved on, and made it apparent that we should to.

We were unprepared. We didn't know what to do. We aren't the kind of people who just buy a microwave willy-nilly. We wanted to get to know the microwave. See how the sensors worked. We were unsure of how to proceed. I mean, we had been off the market for ten years!

So, G started where most good relationships do, the internets. It seemed that finding exactly what we had was not meant to be. We apparently are no longer good enough for the kind of microwave that offered magical popcorn buttons. He did find one that had a popcorn button, though we could not verify the level of magic that came with it. She was shiny, though, and would match our other appliances perfectly, not that looks mattered if the popcorn button would pop every kernel without burning one. I was apprehensive, but was willing to meet the microwave in person. I had to admit she was pretty. Roomy interior. Her buttons gleaming under the fluorescent lights. We did a round of microwave speed dating to check out the other available candidates. However, we came back to the sparkly stainless steel we started with.

We brought her home, and placed her on the counter. Our former microwave was obviously jealous, and refused to go without a fight. Or at least without a crisp twenty from our wallet. I could understand the reticence, I mean, we did have a good run. However, we both knew we were no good for each other. None of us was happy with the arrangement, so it was best to move on. Quick like a band-aid and all of that.

Unfortunately, we found out too late that the new popcorn button was not all that magical. You have to watch her every second, and even then the corn is probably burned. We are pretty sure we can grow to love the new microwave. I mean she's good looking, and after all we like her. I suppose if things go sour, she can keep house with the rest of the appliances and try to charm the next residents of our condo. Until then, we will just have to carefully listen for the pops to slow down and hope for the best.

Posted by raven at November 23, 2009 05:27 PM
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