You can’t make friends with inanimate objects. I’ve tried. I’m officially giving up the ghost and admitting defeat. Some of you may have read in previous posts that I’m really not a big homemaker. Although I aspire to be more creative in a culinary sense, I’m lazy. And broke. And incapable of understanding common ingredients that like to play together without fistfighting (nutmeg? parsley? curry? raisins? sardines?). I’m clueless. Having said this though, I do have about 6 dishes that I understand how to make fairly well, and so I stick to these… they are relatively fail safe. Or so I thought…
…so I thought until my beautiful vintage stove, with whom I have shown nothing but serious love and devotion from the moment I laid eyes on her, set me on fire. FINE! Fuck you, stove. And believe me, this had absolutely nothing to do with my inability to utilize basic brain function enough to recall that lighting flame when you smell gas is a bad idea, and everything to do with the fact that my stove obviously has some innate desire to violently snuff out my life.
Last week I had decided that because of my recent unemployment situation and lack of food in my pantry, I should think of things I could cook that could last me a few meals. This is a responsible, adult-like concept, right? I thought tuna casserole would be a good choice: Cheap. Filling. Delicious. Plus, I remembered what all the ingredients were, and even more importantly, had them all in my possession. Clearly, the universe thought it would be a good idea to cook. Everyone loves comfort food, right?
Not my stove. My stove thinks comfort food is like a small puppy that it would like to punt down a stairwell. My stove finds amusement in torturing 3-legged baby goats and frail grandmas. My stove thinks it is funny to set girls on fire when they are only trying to cook tasty casseroles. My stove, apparently, is a real bastard.
I think we take for granted that most modern appliances have been safety tested with idiots in mind. There is very little harm generally that can come from them, save for perhaps hacking off your fingers with a spinning rotary blade, or death from asphyxiation by getting your tie stuck in a mixmaster. But because this stove is from the 40′s, there aren’t the same safety standards we have today. Back in the 40′s kids were allowed to juggle knives blindfolded, and shower in DDT in the backyard. Back then, you had to manually light the stove with a long match, and touch it to a little hole that spews gas at the front of the open oven. This takes some getting used to. Normally when you light it, it makes this slight “whoooooosh” sound when it catches; once I hear that sound, I wait for 10 minutes and the stove is good to go. This time I’m dancing around to Broken Bells, hands covered in casseroley goodness, juggling pyrex dishes and grating cheese like a culinary master. I hear the “whoosh”, and yet – 1.5 minutes later I can smell gas. My stove sometimes has a horrible habit of blowing out the pilot light if I have windows open… a strange backdraft type situation which has happened 25 times at least- it’s no biggy. Normally I just open the top of the stove and relight the pilot. This time, when I pick up the top, the little pilot flame is still going… but my kitchen smells increasingly more like gas. Confusion ensues. So I open the door to the oven, instinctively grab the long lighter, and click the flame to the gas hole. All of these steps take place over a matter of maybe 1.7 seconds…
It is at this point a raging fireball bursts! forward from the oven, igniting all the hair on my arms, my eyebrows, and front hair on my head, and burning the shit out of my arm, lips and chest. I can see the fire on my skin, feel the burning, and smell the god awful smell of burnt hair EVERYWHERE. I’m flailing my arms around, running from the kitchen to the living room, frantically slapping my hands over my melting arm hair, and smoking hairline. My skin hurts, but I’m incapable of understanding what the hell just happened?? Was I really burned, or just in shock that a fireball just attacked me? It was a surreal situation. This could be the calm that is felt if one loses a limb and yet still manages to drives themselves to the hospital. Aside from a fair chunk of body hair gone, did I need to go to the emergency room? I couldn’t tell. Strangely, I was so embarrassed at the idiocy necessary to touch open flame in a tiny chamber that had been filling up with gas for 2 minutes, that I couldn’t think straight. I imagined how silly Michael Jackson must have felt when he set his entire head on fire while shooting that Pepsi commercial in the 80′s. I dreaded the reaction that my good friend Meghan would have at her wedding in 2 weeks, when she saw that I, as a bridesmaid, was in possession of only 1.5 eyebrows. Of all the times in my life I felt truly stupid, I think this might have taken top prize. Nice work!
I’m fine now. I spent the evening in quite a bit of pain, slathering my entire right arm from wrist to armpit with aloe. It hurt like a son of a bitch but in the end wasn’t serious enough to wait in line for 5 hours to get in to see a doctor. My hair will grow back. I was so lucky. I think I may have used up another of my 9 lives now… I’m fairly certain I only have 4 left at this point.
Stove, we are no longer friends. As you sit there, silently smug and mocking, I’m reminded of who is the boss of this apartment and the reason why cooking should be avoided at all costs.
Fire: 1. Chrissy: 0.