The past few decades, we Americans have discovered a new pastime, though many consider it a solemn responsibility: supervising microwave numbers.
Each day, millions of men, women and children monitor microwave countdowns like space launches.
I do like microwaves. They have saved more marriages than Dr. Phil.
The first year of my husband’s medical practice, he spent our last penny to buy one for me. I didn’t know whether to kiss or kill him. As we navigated his 16-hour days and my baby bottles and strained peas, I leaned toward the kiss.
I found myself eyeing each and every microwave number. Friends conducted similar surveillance when heating their babies’ rice cereal. Years later, we all continue the staring drill with every bag of popcorn and frozen lump of hamburger we forgot to defrost. Blinking is allowed. Apparently, though, transferring one’s gaze to a family member or a house fire is asking for trouble.
Why do we watch microwave numbers? If we don’t, will the food disappear into an alternative universe?
As free Americans, we should cease this self-imposed tyranny.
Math addicts claim to experience withdrawal without their daily allotment of numbers. Fine. Calculate how many nickels you’d use to pay taxes this year. Or count dishtowels you own whose color you can actually identify.
I prefer theological ponderings: If God had made me a jellyfish, wouldn’t I be living someplace warmer?
Perhaps you spend microwave time in practical pursuits, such as scrubbing grape Popsicle® stains your toddler grandson rubbed into white kitchen cabinets. (He’s 16 now? It’s probably time.)
Some innovators learn new skills. Consider teaching yourself to tie your shoes left-handed or balance a celery stalk on your nose.
Other number watchers focus on civic responsibilities, brushing up on the Pledge of Allegiance. They practice state capitals they learned in fifth grade, shouting ’em out, impressing the world — at least, coworkers in their lunchroom.
We all could practice speeches we’d make if the President gave us two minutes of his time.
We could practice what we’d say if God gave us two minutes of His time.
Actually, He’s eager to hear us. He’d also applaud if, instead of spending 9.731 years of our lives overseeing microwave numbers, we’d build relationships.
Build relationships? In minutes? Seconds? Certainly. Social media can connect us in microseconds.
There’s also the old-fashioned phone call (“Hi. I was heating up kumquats and thought of you.”)
We might even share a “Good morning” with spouse, family and coworkers.
If you insist, watch every number as you heat your morning mug of tea. But I guarantee a 30-second kiss with your spouse will warm you even more.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite microwave-timer pastime?