Creatures of the Kitchen

Rain in Denver. Rain on my gray hood making it grayer, rain going into my headphone porthole while I hustle towards sliding doors. Rain pouring out the gutter as I pump my legs on the elliptical at the gym since outside is on liquid shut down. While I was working out, I was watching people outside and thinking about why people move so wierd in the rain. You'd think by the way everyone gets out of it that precipitation is a new thing. Rain has been around since...

The Beginning of Time.

But since when does it rain like this here? It's snowing in the mountains and Michael is up there for a wedding. At least it will match the bride's dress, poor thing.

Snow and it's August 16: David's 30th birthday.

I told him not to feel old. I'm sick of people who are around my age saying they feel old. My grandma, at 93, calls the other women in her nursing home "old ladies" because they don't stay up past ten to play cards and tell the best stories never written down. She's never gotten older to me. The most life-loving people don't.

So, there is rain here like a clear shower curtain falling. I always wondered why they make clear shower curtains. Some companies spend all their money making the wrong things. I need one specific thing: a simple little microwave.

I went to buy a $20 one at Appliance Warehouse. Don't ever go there. The line was longer than the block I grew up on with 13 houses and 34 children. There's enough paperwork to adopt a Chinese baby, and then you have to drive to another line to have big men put your child appliance in the back of your car. A nice lady in an "I'm Here to Help!" red vest did my paperwork for me.

"Now just take this over to the cashier in the corner and you're ready for pick up," she said.

When I got within sight of the cashier line, I stopped, and said:

"You're kidding me."

And a man in line said:

"I wish."

I went back and found my vested friend.

"I'm sorry. I can't wait in that line," I said, and tried to hand her my folded papers.

"That's ok," she said. "We're open til 8," and pushed them back towards me with her flat hand.

"Ok. But I can't wait in that line at 8."

"Well, keep your paperwork and then you can come back sometime for your microwave."

The truth is I half-like not living life with a microwave. But the rain makes me want a movie. And a movie for me is like giving a mouse a cookie. I can't watch one without popcorn.

We used to have one of those air-poppers when I was little where you pour in the kernels and they get all stopped up in the transparent chute before the pressure is TOO MUCH and they come cascading out into a bowl and ALL OVER the floor and you pick them up and think VICTORY! POPCORN MAGIC MADE BY ME!

Process over product. Not a lesson the microwave teaches. The microwave says, now!now!now! and bings when it's done.

I would bet my unspent $20 on it that the Appliance Warehouse doesn't supply any good ole appliances like old-fashioned popcorn poppers.

I folded the four pages of paperwork and put them in my glove compartment, which is where everything goes that I don't have the balls to throw out, but never want to see again. Also in there is a note from my mechanic, Mike, that says I need a new catalytic converter, some unpaid parking tickets from Tulane University, and all the other car paperwork I won't possibly ever need.

And I better not because I don't know what any of it means. Every time I get pulled over, I hand the cop a stack of papers, and he has to sift through them to find what he's looking for. Probably why I've never gotten out of a speeding ticket.

The thing is, I may stuff things I might later need in compartments, but I am not a hoarder. My dad is. Our basement looks like it's been throwing up 70's things on itself since the 70's. I guess we either attain the characteristics of our parents, or we do everything we can to outrun them.

Since the day I moved away from New Orleans, I've gotten rid of 1,600 pounds of useless things. Amongst them, my old microwave. My second old microwave. The first one Kate and I owned became infested with cockroaches. The exterminator came and got rid of all the roaches in the kitchen, but he overlooked the motherload hiding in our heater-upper.

We called him again when we counted twelve cockroaches coming out the seams of the thing during our cereal eating.

He came and said:

"Yep. They're in there. They've got a nest in there."

We put it on the porch and forgot about it until we moved out, and it was still crawling with them when I threw it over the balcony onto my pile of gratuitous goods.

Remember a long time ago when I wrote about someone lining all my stuff up on the sidewalk like it was their own sale? Well, not the microwave. Someone took it and hit the ground running, roaches and all, right off the bat. Then I felt bad I hadn't put a sign up that said, "Roaches in here."

So for now, I will have no popcorn. I will have the smell of rain and kernels in paper bags, and the bittersweet memories of microwaves past.