Mom always said the oven was dirty, and that's why she cleaned it so often.
I remember, when I was little, watching cookies rise through the Bakelite window in the oven with my dad. That was before we got a television, but it was kind of the sam(more)e thing, just sitting and watching with him. Mom used to tell Mrs. Roberts it was the cutest thing to see. I used to go to baseball games with Carl, the Roberts boy, until one time Mrs. Roberts crashed the car into a house in Westerly. I liked Mrs. Roberts. She laughed loudly and her breath smelled sharp. Poppy said she hit the bottle too hard, but I never saw her hit anything.
I asked Poppy why Mom stopped making cookies. He said Mom got sad sometimes after my father went to the merchant marines. He said women get that way sometimes and he didn't understand it. Mammy used to get sad too, he said. That's why she lives in the quiet place. He said he was sorry for it.
Poppy would take me to visit Mammy in the quiet place. Mom would wait in the car. Poppy would ask her how she was, over and over again, and she would get annoyed. But she always said she was fine. Mammy had a very heavy face. It seemed hard for her to keep her eyes open.
I live with Poppy now. A few months ago, Mom started crying and took me to Poppy's house. Later that night, I heard a policeman tell Poppy that they found Mom in the stove, that Mrs. Roberts found her just in time and they'd taken her to Seaside to rest. I told Poppy I thought Mom cleaned the stove too much. He said he thought so too.(less)
The humble oven, an indispensable equipment in the kitchen, is the goto accessory for our fast food cravings. Take some processed food, pour out its contents into the oven, and voila, it's cooked. Under three minutes. Our ancestors would be amazed. Ready to eat food served in five minutes.
No(more)w you may hear people complaining about cleaning the dirty oven. Do they, for a minute, stop and think how long the traditional way of cooking used to take? What is the traditional way of cooking anyway? Is it roasting animals in fire before farming came into existence? Is it cooking with water? Still,m all this took some time. But, the modern man is impatient. He wants food, and he wants it now. He wants it to be fuss free, minimal maintenance, and easy to cook. Voila, the oven.
But, he doesn't want to clean the oven. The dirty oven is a metaphor for our fast paced lives. We don't even want to clean up our stuff, clear our clutter. We just want to consume. To hell with the consequences. Even if the consequences affect us personally.
Dirty oven doesn't take much time to clean. But if one considers it to be unnecessary work, will one be inclined to do it? That's exactly what's stopping us from living our life fully. We are so caught up in the moment and living in the moment that we don't stop for a second to think of our future. Or we look into the future and forget the present. Life is filled with such paradoxes. The dirty oven still functions. It's not at its best, but it works. And that's us. We may not be at our best, but we still make do. And that's ok. Because we're ok with it.(less)