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Tuesday, February 18, 2003  

You Can’t Spell “Pointless Venting” Without “Oven”

There are two hundred or so employees in my office. There are three microwaves. That’s not enough. Especially between eleven and noon on the first day after a long weekend when everyone has had time to put together lunches and bring them from home. I went into the break room today at eleven-thirty and there were half a dozen people standing there clutching their Gladware™ containers and Lean Cuisines™, their eyes fixed on the sad bank of nuke-boxes like those of a desperate cadre of Expos fans at a sports bar while their lunch breaks tick away.

It’s ridiculous. These glorified clocks stand empty most of the day, except when everyone has to take a number just so they can have a turn splattering their precious molecules of cheese and tomato sauce all over the inside of one of those coveted cubic half-feet of irradiated real estate. I’m fortunate enough not to have a fixed lunchtime (which, in the manner of salaried workers everywhere, means I rarely take one), so rather than standing at the end of a line like one at a Soviet butcher shop, I decided to put my lunch back in the fridge and come back later. The food will get warm faster that way anyway.

It’s obvious what we need to do, isn’t it? Just take the doors off of the microwaves, set them to run for an hour, and people can just walk in front of them holding their food. Everybody wins.

There are a few bugs we’d need to work out. For instance, the vending machine would have to be moved out into the hallway; the chocolate bars we get out of it are little more than brown-smeared wrappers as it is. But I think the inconvenience of that would be more than offset by the spike in productivity we’ll see when people stop taking maternity and paternity leave. And time off for dentist appointments would decrease dramatically because nobody would want to drink out of a soda can while it’s spitting blue sparks.

I’m going to bring this suggestion up to Human Resources. I bet they make me a director for this.

* * *

At home, the situation isn’t a great deal better. We’re just fine microwave-wise—it pisses off our edible electrons just like it’s supposed to—but our conventional oven has been out of commission for a couple of weeks. My dad and I were in the midst of swapping out our horrible old oven when we discovered that we were short a seven-eighths-inch fitting. Whatever that is. This is a fifties-vintage oven we’re putting in, connecting it to a fifties-vintage gas line. Home Depot and Menards? Not so much with the fifties-vintage stuff.

So Dad had to get on the Internet and pretend to be a defense contractor or something in order to get the right piece. In the meantime, we haven’t been able to heat up anything that you can’t cook with a stove, microwave, toaster, or magnifying glass held over the sidewalk. Which is harder than it sounds, especially in winter. How about some tater-tots? How about some frozen pizza? How about some jalapeno poppers, or a potpie, or some of Trash’s wonderful oven-baked chicken? Sound good? Too bad. Go chew on this old shoelace, Oliver Twist. I don’t know how people are ever able to survive month-long kitchen remodeling projects. I mean, our kitchen is barely recognizable compared to what it looked like three years ago, but we did it in short bursts that never rendered any one vital component non-functional for more than a day or two. We get out of sorts when we have to use “heavy wash” mode on the dishwasher, for crying out loud.

But Dad found the oven part, and we’ll have a new, working oven in a matter of days. Not a moment too soon, either. I was starting to get suicidal. In fact—and I hate to admit this—I tried to pull a Sylvia Plath. Trash found me that way and reminded me there was no gas supply to the oven. God, what a waste of seven hours.

posted by M. Giant 4:16 PM 0 comments


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