"You're not allowed to say I don't know how to use the microwave anymore."
Josh does not know how to use the microwave, or at least he did not until very recently. That was when I noticed that his strategy was to always set the timer for five minutes and then wait until he heard the tell-tale pop and sizzle. When confronted with numbers, Josh takes a guess and hopes for the best. Since I started teasing him about his microwaving skills, he has figured out that he can stop and think for half a second and come up with a more reasonable guess than five minutes.
I opened the microwave and began cleaning out the shredded chicken pieces decorating each of the six interior sides. Remix, always on hand when something is happening in the kitchen, watched with interest. I told her to sit, then tossed a handful of irradiated chicken at her feet.
I could not understand why the chicken exploded. I'd set the timer for forty-five seconds, and there were three leftover fried tenderloins in there, fresh from the fridge. That should not explode anything. But I shrugged and put the plate of chicken in the oven to broil. Then I put in a bowl of green beans into the microwave, thirty seconds. Within five seconds, there was the pop and sizzle and a trail of smoke was emitting from one bean. Then the microwave's hum changed slightly and there was no more pop and sizzle. Another five seconds, the hum changed back to the other hum, and the trail of smoke got bigger. I stopped before I ended up wiping exploded bean.
I was encouraged by the partial behavior. A microwave that is sorta broken still sorta works. Maybe we'll reheat the spaghetti sauce on the stove for tonight, but tomorrow, we could give our old machine another try. It just needed a rest. That sounds logical, right? Josh said that a sorta broken microwave was dangerous, and we were all going to get cancer immediately.
Our microwave, like our late heat pump, is original to the house, which means it has given 29 years of service. Maybe it was time to let it go. In any case, my beans were still cold.
"I have a microwave in my car," Trevor said.
Trevor has a microwave in his car. Formerly, it lived in his dad's basement before moving with Trevor to his first apartment. After the apartment, he moved in with someone who had a better microwave, and his basement microwave stayed in the car.
That was about eight years ago. The one time the microwave left the car was when Trevor got a new car, where the microwave went to live.
"I just thought it might come in handy someday."
He went to go digging in his car, which I began to think of as some kind of Mary Poppins vehicle. Who knows what else might be in there? He came back inside carrying a GE Turntable Microwave Oven. Josh got a wet rag and began wiping years of backseat off the little machine. It was gross. Somewhere in the conversation, we ended up naming the microwave "Dusty Kid." Sometimes we name our appliances and refer to them as robots.
"You know, I think I would have plugged it in and tried it out to see if it worked, then spent the time cleaning it," Trevor remarked. That would have been smarter. But it didn't matter, because we plugged in Dusty Kid (the light came on!), and gave him a bowl of mostly cold beans. With the push of a button, he hummed to life. Thirty seconds later, warm beans.
"See, I knew it would come in handy someday."