Wednesday, July 29 2020
When I fed the cats at 7:17am, I heard an unusual roaring sound in the kitchen. To my horror, I saw that one of the burners on the stove (the biggest one, in fact) was on, superheating a pot we use for much of our cooking. The pot had weird ashy deposits stuck to its bottom, but otherwise it appeared undamaged. The heat had also affected some nearby items on the kitchen island, including a bag of bread. Water had been driven from the hot side of the bag and precipitated out on its cool side, leaving the hot side toast-like and the the cool side soggy. But the bread was still edible. At first I thought maybe Gretchen had accidentally turned on a burner while cleaning up after dinner last night, but she was pretty sure she hadn't. Eventually we decided that Celeste the Cat had somehow turned it on. All that she'd need to do to turn it on would be to step on it and then push off it with the same step. The sparker would then fire until the gas ignited, and it would continue burning until someone noticed it. Fortunately, nothing bad had happened, but it made me nervous enough that I ordered some oven knob covers.
About five years ago, Gretchen participated in a program in which students from Onteora High School were paired with professionals in the community to learn about their jobs. Gretchen was a "professional poet" (to the extent such things exist) and she was assigned a student named Natalie who turned out to be a delight. (The next year I participated in the program and taught a young man named Jake about web development, though he was kind of a drag.) Anyway, that was all to remind you of this woman named Natalie, who is now a college graduate and looking for things to do during a global pandemic. So Gretchen decided to hire her to give driving classes to Powerful for $40/hour. The first such class was this evening, and Natalie arrived just as I was getting ready to cut down the three-quarter-inch plywood decking to go around the south side of the new bathtub (between it and the wall). Since Natalie had parked-in the Nissan Leaf, she and Powerful were took the Prius, which (due to the tight parking for three cars in our driveway) was parked under the old basketball goal, hard against some old pallets that the roofing for the screened-in porch had arrived on. And Powerful was backing out, apparently he cut the wheels sharply, sending him needlessly into the pallet, making a terrible noise that caused him to (thankfully) stop. Gretchen and I went running out to see what had happened, and Gretchen immediately began screaming, because the megaphone of my Disturbatron (which I keep on those pallets) was all caught in one of the Prius's wheels, hopelessly destroyed. And then I started yelling too, mostly out of frustration that something so stupid had happened. Why had Natalie allowed Powerful to drive off the track into the land of real destroyable objects? In truth, though, the only damage to the Disturbraton was to the plastic cone of the megaphone. All the electronics were still intact, and it could still make noise (though it was probably no longer weather-proof). I immediately calmed down, and before long I was feeling bad about yelling at Natalie and Powerful, who are both somewhat sensitive souls. When I talked to Gretchen about it a few minutes later, she made me feel worse, and acted like I'd been the only one yelling. She seemed to have complete amnesia about all the yelling she'd done, and acted like I was gaslighting her when I told her this.
When Natalie and Powerful eventually returned from their one-hour lesson on the streets of Kingston, I called down to them from the laboratory deck to apologize. Powerful said Natalie had been ruminating about the incident the whole time, and initially even tried to decline her $40 payment. But, as Powerful was quick to point out, it was all going to blow over and was no big deal.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next