Tuesday, November 16, 2010
WHO OWNS THE TOASTER?
If I own it (and I think I might, since Jerry kindly defers to me when it comes to kitchen equipment,) then I think the settings should always remain on “10,” which produces a perfect piece of toast. There is another reason why I think I own the toaster, and that is for 21,900 days (which is a good approximation of the number of days in my life that I’ve been able to choose my own breakfasts), I have started the day with two pieces of toast and a cup of coffee. Jer doesn’t have the love relationship with toast that I do. He prefers Wheaties or Cheerios.
The crux of the issue is this: If I own the toaster then isn’t it appropriate for Jerry to return the setting to 10 when he is finished using it? Now believe me, we are beyond the point of needing to fight over this issue. Jerry and I know where our differences lie and we accept them. As my mother always said, it would be very boring if everybody liked the same thing.
But there is a vast divergence in our thinking about toast. To me, it is impossible to over-toast a piece of bread. The only reason I don’t cremate my toast is that I don’t want to eat anything carcinogenic. So when I set my toaster dial at 10, I get the perfect piece of toast. Slather butter on it and it is a breakfast fit for a Queen.
On the other hand, Jerry believes the perfect piece of toast happens when bread is waved over the top of the toaster with the dial set at 1. He then takes that most-anemic looking bread (I can’t even refer to it as toast, because it is definitely not toasted), slathers butter on it, and enjoys it as much as I enjoy my cremated piece.
The problem is, of course, that he does not ever remember to turn the setting back to 10, and thus I am always taken aback when my toast pops up pale and floppy. I do believe that if I own the toaster, the setting should always be at 10, one way or the other.
Jerry, good guy that he is, doesn’t argue with me over ownership, and he always admits he forgot to reset the toaster dial. And I give him some slack because he is 81 and has far more important things on his mind than my toast, which he considers inedible anyway. It’s nothing to argue over.
But there is one other item in our house that truly needs to have its ownership defined. That is, of course, the toilet.
I cannot be as flexible about ownership of the toilet as I am of the toaster. I believe I own the toilet outright by default. More than once in our years of marriage I have gone into the bathroom in the middle of the night, (leaving the light off so that I don’t wake Jerry) and sat down on the toilet, only to fall rear-end first into the cold water because the lid has been left up. Having this happen is like a sudden ritual gone terribly awry, a unexpected baptism of the wrong end, so to speak. The suddenness, the shock, and the humiliation that occurs is so dramatic and senseless that the only atonement possible should be full and uncontested ownership. Along with that would come Rule Number One: “Under no circumstances shall the toilet lid be left up.”
I own my bed; Jerry owns his. I own my closet; Jerry owns his. He can own the plants and the coffeepot, the hair dryer and the television. I will even agree to share the toaster with him, if necessary. But the toilet should be mine, and I reiterate: Under no circumstances shall the toilet lid be left up. Period.
And I can hear his response after he reads this: TURN ON THE LIGHT, STUPID!