Monday, January 29, 2007

Crumbs

Our toaster is horrible. An offcast of an ex-girlfriend’s mother, it has a hideous 80s-style “ears of wheat” motif on the side (the toaster, not the ex-girlfriend's mother). But my girlfriend and I now have a new toaster. OK, it is not exactly new, but comes from my girlfriend’s flat that is about to be sold and thus needed clearing out at the weekend. It is chrome and big and curvy like a toaster should be, with not a hideous "ye olde farmhouse kitchen" design in sight. It is still quite old as it was there when my girlfriend bought the flat, so it does need a bit of a clean. I decide to do that this morning.

Not everything has been going well on the work front for me this year, so I relish the opportunity of doing a small job like this that will give me satisfaction upon completion. That way I can build my confidence towards writing another spec script. By the time that is rejected the kettle will need descaling again, and thus the cycle of depression and irregular cleaning jobs continues.

The first task is to empty the crumb tray. She must have been charging too much rent, because it seems that whoever lived in my girlfriend’s flat for the past two years subsisted entirely on toast. The crumb tray itself is of Tardis-like dimensions – by the time it is empty there is nearly half a loaf in the bin.

The second task is to give the chrome a nice polish. I usually hate the thought of any kind of cleaning, but given a small, achievable, well-defined goal such as this I take a real pride in my work and soon I can see my distorted face in it. (The mirrored surface is distorted, not my face.)

The third task is to have the leftover Monday bagel.

Clunk – That is the sound of me pushing the bagel down into the toaster.

Thwock – That is the sound of the untoasted bagel immediately popping back up.

Clunk.

Thwock.

Clunk.

Thwock.

Clunk-thwock-clunk-thwock-clunk-thwock.

Clunk.

Thwock.

It is obvious what has happened. The clunk-thwock mechanism has broken.

This should be the work of just a few moments to a man with a BEng, and I fetch a screwdriver. Forty minutes later I admit defeat and put the toaster back together again. It may have been a first class degree (from a proper university as well), but education standards were obviously slipping even in 1991.

Clunk.

I grimly hold the handle down until my bagel is toasted.

Thwock.

I get the butter, wondering what this means for the year ahead.