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Why I am Afraid of My Kitchen Appliances And You Should Be Too
The identity of this writer has been changed to preserve her anonymity. For that purpose, she will be writing under the pen name “Anonymous”. Readers are advised to respect privacy laws and ignore the icon at the top of this page identifying the writer as “Nordy”. I don't know who she is, but I believe my computer has been hijacked and she is an imposter.
Although I'm sure he meant well, I don't think Stan was fully aware of what a sensitive issue this is when he suggested it as a topic in his hub contest. As funny as it may seem to you, being afraid of your kitchen appliances is no laughing matter. While you are reading this from the comfort of your own home or office, blissfully and ignorantly ignorant of the danger that lurks all around you, I am all too aware of the vindictiveness, callousness, and sheer vengefulness of those appliances we mistakenly think of as modern luxuries. It is because of my personal experiences that I have been forced to write to you from an igloo buried deep in the Arctic, not too far from the North Pole (if you consider 350 nautical miles as being “not far”). I have moved here for two purposes. Firstly, as sanctioned by the witness protection program, to escape further attack from my refrigerator and his henchmen, the oven and dishwasher. And secondly, to ensure that I have a way of keeping my food cold, since I am no longer able to use a refrigerator for its designed purpose. To do so would be suicide, or reckless self-chastisement at the very least. Importunate though it may have been, my move to the barren tundra has not been all bad. My neighbors are just the way I like them: virtually nonexistent. As an added bonus, I have found that the Arctic is just the forward-thinking kind of place that I have been seeking. For one, it permits its residents to cook by open fire. Which apparently isn't allowed in urban settings, especially in apartment buildings. Who knew? Speaking of which, I like to give a shout out to John in 201, the Gorman’s in 204 and the silver-haired lady from the third floor who routinely opened and resealed my mail (who were you working for?) - I hope your insurance claims have come through.
Me In My Igloo
All that preamble aside, I'm sure you want to know what the real deal is here so let me get to the point. For what reason should a highly functioning, relatively normal woman like me flee thousands of miles to evade seemingly benign kitchen apparati you ask? Here is the reason: one night no so long ago, they attacked me, in what can only be described as brutal assault. Likely premeditated. Before you laugh, consider this: how much do you really know about your own kitchen appliances, or any other machines in your household for that matter? You know what their function is and you know how to operate them, but do you know what they get up to when you’re not around? The idiom about falling trees making sounds when no one is around comes to mind. Well do they? And more to the point – do your machines conspire against you when you’re not around? Possibly, even probably, if Morpheus, the historic captain of the Nebuchadnezzar is to be believed.In hindsight, I should have been on guard the moment those appliances were delivered. Anything named Whirlpool, defined by Dictionary.com as
“a charge covering the entire field of an escutcheon and having the form either of a spirallike scroll or of a number of concentric rings, the whole field having two tinctures”
“a powerful circular current or vortex of water, usually produced by conflicting tidal currents or by eddying at the foot of a waterfall”
should solicit immediate trepidation in its purchaser. I’m no idiot but I don’t even know what those definitions mean. What I do know is that I now fear what they probably mean: one who delivers a premeditated and gruesome assault on the unsuspecting consumer. A bit like the shop clerk who coerces you into buying a belt last minute upon paying for your jeans or the fast food attendant who cajoles you into “supersizing it” , but less confrontational. But unlike those scenarios, this time I was unarmed because I hadn’t reason to suspect anything in the first place. Sometimes late at night I would hear my refrigerator spluttering a rather baritone, guttural sort of gurgle, as if trying to summon the dead back to life. That did make me a bit nervous, especially since I never been that fond of dead people. Call me a bigot if you will. But after several successive calls to 911, I was beginning to feel satisfied by reassurance that the noises were all part of its normal operation.
That was my first mistake. The moment you let your guard down is the very moment they will plan a strike against you. Because the attack was so horrific, I'm afraid I cannot go into all the details because to do so would not only bring up painful memories for me, but would also traumatize you, the reader. I can give you the gist, however, though it is not for the faint hearted.
It was a cool September evening, the kind that is not warm and not cold either. I was on my way home from a Conspiracy Theorists Anonymous meeting (affectionately known as CTA, but not to be confused with the Chicago Transit Authority or the Coquitlam Teachers Association - both having totally different modus operendi). It had conveniently run a little late. To this day, I don’t know why it should have run late on that particular evening, but I have my theories. In any case, I was feeling a little peckish, forgoing the potluck snacks at the meeting earlier. Did you know that the origin of the world potluck dates back to 1592 and references the idea "one's luck or chance as to what may be in the pot." I don’t know about you, but that sounds more like an admonishment than an invitation to eat whatever is in said pot. Some subcultures may interpret the meaning of “the pot” in an entirely different manner, but I wouldn’t be able to attest to that because I never inhaled. Anyway, en route home that evening, I stopped at my local supermarket for some late night fare. Twenty-four-hour grocery stores are great for convenience, not so much for selection. I was ravenous, so I grabbed the first decent thing I could find – a roasting chicken. Being a meatatarian, one has to be selective, even with late night snacks. It is shocking how many entrees these days are processed in factories that also prepare vegetables. I have lobbied the FDA to put warning labels stating such alongside the nut, dairy, and gluten labels but so far they have returned all but one of the fifty-six letters I sent. I guess government agencies don’t have the proper tech to read invisible ink yet.
After going through the check out, I escorted my poultry selection to my apartment. I promptly began to prepare it with precision and due diligence to directions. The packaging advised me to wash the bird first. Not a problem for me, who is always acutely aware of the dangers of contamination, and especially salmonella poisoning. Did you know that this sinister bacterial plague was originally manufactured by a coalition of fish farmers – most notably SALMON – to throw suspicious consumers off the scent of pathogenic fish? No one really suspected poultry was unsafe until the Bird Flu hit! Just a bit of strategic propaganda orchestrated by those disgruntled fisheries. To this day, I refuse to watch Finding Nemo, knowing the injustices committed in the name of fish. Bearing that in mind, I did what the packaging said and washed it first. Not just a careless rinse under the tap, I don’t take health and safety lightly. Not me, I gave it whole cycle in the dishwasher using the “Heavy Load” option, with a “High-Temp Boost” to blast any residue that persevered. My suspicions should have been raised when the chicken came out half cooked, half drowned (what does a salmonella infection look like?), but who would suspect a dishwasher, of all things? I never even once heard a peep from it at night, unlike its comrade the fridge! I guess it’s the quiet ones you got to watch out for.
So I transferred the paltry chicken to the oven, first setting the temperature to the directed degree of 350. I set the timer as advised, to 7 and a half hours. I am not good at a lot of things, but math is one of my strong suits. Which, as it happens, comes in handy for figuring out the pattern of the seating arrangement at my CTA meetings, the amount of flushes it takes to dispose of my toenail clippings one by one (imagine if those dastardly fish farmers got their conspiring little hands on the whole lot!), and the number of characters in this essay so far (7115, no spaces). But that’s another hub. Back to my point, the instructions said 20 minutes per pound. I am a bit self-conscious about my weight so you do the math; 7.5 hours is all I will say!
Seven and a half hours is a long time to wait for a late night snack. Lucky for me, I only sleep from 0700 to 0830 hrs anyway. I find that’s the best way to keep one step ahead of them. It hasn’t affected me so far, and I plan to repay my sleep debt in large installments now that I am secure in my remotely located ice casa. Oh yeah – and here is another reason I chose the Far North for my new home: I have never heard of any Inuit being abducted by extraterrestrials. If you are Inuit and have been abducted by aliens (assuming you have absconded or released) please do write to me and may be we could get together and swap stories? In any case, asleep or awake, it’s still a long time to pass while waiting for grub. So I cracked open a magnum of wine, cranked up the stereo, and got busy rehearsing my routine for the upcoming International Festival of Morris Dancers. Now I know what you’re thinking right now – a magnum of wine?! I may be in recovery, but conspiracies and their theories are my only affliction, alongside sleep deprivation and delirium maybe. Alcohol, thank God, has never been a problem for me. My rehearsal was going really well that night and I even managed to invent a few moves to incorporate into my routine, although I would first have to pass them by my governing association, the Morris Ring (not to be confused with the Lord of the Ring, whose jurisdiction is restricted to Hobbits and their alter egos). Well, I must have danced so hard I passed out. The next thing I knew, the timer on the oven was blaring, bidding my attempt to rescue my poor bird from its grip. It was then the penny dropped for me and I knew something was up. I opened the oven door and a waft of heavy smoke poured into the kitchen, like some sort of ethereal curtain-call, metaphorically signaling my impending demise. A literal smoke-screen for what was about to happen. I began to feel dizzy. I looked in disbelief at the dishwasher, who gave me a knowing sort-of flicker and grunt. My legs grew weak as the fear set in and buckled me at the knees. My nemeses escalated their fusillade, abetted by their colleague - the white saucer clutching the kitchen ceiling Mission-Impossible style. The one I had always assumed was just a smoke detector. Or at worst an alien spy device. But never did I think it could part of the Appliance Allegiance Against Conspiracy TheoristsTM. It began screaming out in ear-piercing Morse code, calling the others to action. I was blinded from smoke, legless from dizziness (perhaps also from wine), and now deafened from the screeching alarm. My consciousness was slowly fading out like bad eighties pop song. I did the only thing I could do and went for the door.
My apartment’s door, affectionately known to me as “Plan A”, as it happens, is not geographically located two feet in proximity to the scene of this incident. The handle I grabbed, conveniently located just within my blinded grasp, was not that of my front door, but that of the refrigerator. In my anoxia and confusion, I swung open the door and attempted escape, only to be sucked in, literally, by the Whirlpool. You shake your head in disbelief, but I can tell you hand on heart that this is truly possible. The refrigerator’s capacity may seem small to you at first glance, but when that door closes it transforms into a cryogenic Tardis (reference: Dr. Who). Have you never seen Ghostbusters? If a refrigerator is big enough to contain an entire universe complete with its governing demon, why should it not capable of sucking in a mid-sized delirious, insomniac, meatatarian such as me?
What happened inside the fridge I cannot tell you. I have vague recollections of a tribunal, resided over by a wilted carrot, and a moldy cheese brick was the bailiff. Auguries of the Expired rings a bell. I do know that I was the defendant. Though I can’t be sure, I am sure this is the traumatic part I can’t bring myself to tell you about.
After what seemed like hours, maybe even a fortnight, I managed to bust open the door from the inside and escape into my kitchen, the crime scene. How I did it, I have no idea. My oven and dishwasher had their poker faces on, motionless and giving nothing away. I was in bad condition. I needed to call 911, but I had already been barred. To do so another time (apparently 93 calls is the unofficial quota for one citizen) would constitute malingering. Thank God for small mercies. One, that I hadn’t yet managed to clean much around my apartment in the last couple of years. Two, that I also hadn’t got around to calling pest control on account of being trapped in a refrigerator and prosecuted by jilted, decomposing foodstuffs for two weeks. And three, for the fact that not only did that cockroach have a cell phone on him, but that he actually responded to my cry for help and made the call to emergency services on my behalf. The ambulance arrived soon later. The rest, as they say, is history. But my life will never be the same again.
So that is my story. Here in the Arctic, we are heading into our 24-hour-of-darkness season, and I intend to finally repay that sleep debt and get forty (million) or so winks. But before I depart, a final note. The worst part of this whole experience is that I trusted my refrigerator to keep my food cold, my oven to warm it up, and my dishwasher to clean up afterwards. They failed to produce. Even worse, they betrayed my trust, capturing and relinquishing me to a putrefied Posse of Produce whose charges against me were biased and circumstantial. Let’s face it, no one likes a meatatarian, least of all a carrot. I hope that in reading this story, you take heed and wake up to the dangers that lurk all around you in the place you call home sweet home. And if you can help it, just eat out!Disclaimer: Any resemblances of characters to other people, either real or fictional, are purely coincidental. No animals were hurt in the making of this hub, unless you count the chicken that was cremated, but he was already dead. There are no such things as meatarians. They are actually called Atkins Diet devotees. Vegetables are actually cool, except for artichokes, they really are disgusting. References made to the brand Whirlpool are intended only in a humorous manner. Whirlpool is a fantastic brand, and none of their appliances have ever or will ever hold forcibly against their will any person, that I am aware of. Fish farmers are also great people, do not promote smear campaigns, and also probably have nothing to do with the Bird Flu (that was or was not a pandemic?). Equally, the movie Finding Nemo by Pixar Animation is probably the single, best movie about a fish I have ever seen and I still watch it at least four times a week. Please don’t clean your food in your dishwasher, it is only (apparently) for washing dishes and maybe tooth brushes. And lastly, please note that chronic sleep deprivation can cause sleeplessness, heightened sensitivity, impaired rationalization and problem-solving, paranoia, delirium, stupor and coma. Please see a doctor if you experience any of these effects.
Please watch out for my next hub: “Thinking Outside the Box: I Will, Once I Find My Way Out Of Here”.