by Sharon M. Kennedy
Microwave ovens are as common in kitchens of today as flies were in kitchens of yesterday. The convenience of such an electronic device cannot be denied. It’s reported they use less energy than a stovetop or regular oven. They take mere seconds to reheat a beverage or slice of pizza, and they guarantee instant gratification. If only mankind’s troubles could be solved as easily and quickly as a microwave solves the dilemma of what’s for supper.
A year ago, a friend was visiting and asked where I kept my microwave. I told her I didn’t have one. From the look on her face, I thought her heart might give out, but she rallied and began quizzing me. “Why not, how do you warm leftovers, and how do you make popcorn” were a few of her questions. She was so overwhelmed at the absence of a microwave that the next time she visited, she brought me one. I thanked her and asked where she thought I might put it. Glancing around my tiny kitchen, she agreed there was no counter space. She suggested putting it on the table. Again, I asked where. Should it go next to the napkin holder, chicken lamp, condiments, stacks of cookbooks, or the landline telephone? She got a little huffy. She failed to understand I’m not a proponent of instant gratification, nor am I up-to-date on modern technology.
Her queries were not new to me. Folks crossing my threshold and staying long enough for their coffee to cool ask the same thing. I always point to my electric stove. I know it takes more time and energy. I know I have to wait for the burner to heat up to warm my coffee. That brings up another issue. I don’t own a Keurig coffee machine or a Mr. Coffee. I use an old percolator pot, the kind you might see around a campfire. I wash it in my green sink. Oh dear. That’s another issue. The green sink came with the mobile home I live in. They’re both 54 years old. What’s a person to do?
Sometimes it takes visitors to point out all our deficiencies. You know what I mean. Our daily routines and idiosyncrasies are so normal to us we forget they might appear odd to others. Everything from kitchen appliances to personal getups are open to criticism. Friends still don’t understand why I keep a slop pail in the kitchen, why I put my snow-packed winter boots in the bathtub, or why I wear old clothes.
Living alone means we don’t have to make concessions or give explanations for our habits. If we wear longjohns underneath our slacks, there’s no one to laugh at us. If we wear a hairnet to bed, who cares? We can use the same teabag three days in a row, drink yesterday’s coffee today, wear socks that don’t match, and do all sorts of things that appear ridiculous to others. It’s not always fun being alone, but it is liberating.
There’s a point to this rambling. Although I haven’t embraced the convenience of a microwave, smartphone or tablet, I’m thankful for my computer. Magically, I cut, paste, delete, insert, view, and edit as quickly as a techie hacks into a government website. My skills are limited to the basics, but that’s enough to get me out of bed in the morning and get me writing.
If you’ve hesitated to join the 21st century lemmings all racing towards the nearest technology cliff, you understand, and if you’ve joined the crowd, enjoy the plunge. I applaud and admire your ability to assimilate into modern culture. I can’t seem to get the hang of it. As for my lady friend’s gift, when she went home I put the microwave in the garage and left the door open. Not even mice or squirrels used it as a winter residence. So when summer rolled around, I sold it for a dollar. The purchaser went away happy.