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Opinion

Failing oven causes re-grouping among roommates, dining out

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November 5, 2009

Exhausted and feeling the irritating pinch of hunger, I walked into my apartment. As I set my backpack down on the floor, a scent of burning mystery strangled my nose. One of my roommates gets off the couch and tells me that the stovetop smokes when on.

Every coil. I sighed, not surprised. That oven has been messing with the four of us since we moved in. We have been nothing but nice to it, patting it on the door when it does well, whispering sweet nothings to its dials… and now it picks up smoking. 

We called the landlord and haven’t touched the stove since. Once in a while we look at it, all cast with shadows, and we remember the good times.

Memories aside, we realized how much we missed the oven and its services. I was home for a whole 15 minutes. During this chaos, everyone emerged from their desks and stood on the linoleum. 

Someone suggested we use the microwave. The kitchen fell silent with only the rustle of clothes as the rest of us slowly turned our faces to the culprit.

The microwave? Yeah, if you want your noodles chewy, your eggs tasteless and your meat cold in the middle.

The microwave is a miracle, yes, but not a substitute for an oven. Could you get a microwave to lovingly bake a warm apple pie, holding the crust like a mother holds her child? Could you fry bacon in a microwave so as to shower yourself in hot grease with every flip? What if you wanted to watch water boil, huh? You can’t hover over warming water in a microwave like you can with a dedicated stove.

And what would you do with all that extra time the microwave saves anyway? Hoard it? Well, you can’t. So get over yourself, microwave, and respect your elders.

Now with the microwave and the roommate fitfully weeping, our attention went back to the stove, which was getting jittery for its next smoke break. 

“Don’t touch it, it’s just not the same,” we warn each other as we back away. It will never be the same.

A small doubt has crawled into our minds and latched its barbed hooks in the squiggles. We gazed up at the fluorescent light above and wondered what our cooking adventures would entail after this.

The oven will be in a park on a summer’s day, playing catch with the blender. The ball rolls down a small hill, and the blender, cord trailing behind, will bounce after it.

The oven will quickly shift around, see that no one is looking, sit itself on the ground, close its door, and begin to pour smoke from its top, the coils orange with heat. Blender Jr. will trot back, see this debacle, and begin to cry, short-circuiting itself to an early end. Never again will the oven be trusted.

We are still waiting on the landlord to get back to us. It’s only been a few hours now since I walked through the door. All of us are shaking, confused and still hungry.

Someone gasps. “Let’s go to China Moon! I can’t take it anymore!” There is a cloud of agreement as we all, one by one, rise up off the kitchen floor, grab our coats, and exit.

<b>Laura Krawczyk</b> is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.