Conversations with My Appliances: The Toaster


Me: You’re a real piece of shit, you know that?


Me: Look, just work with me. You’re the only toaster I’ve got, and microwaving a bagel is heresy. Please just toast the bagel instead of popping it up immediately after I press the lever.

Toaster: I’m the one with the power in this relationship. You work on my rules.

Me: I could junk you at any moment.

Toaster: But you won’t. You live in Portland. I have electronics in me.

Me: I’m going to write about this.

Toaster: You are? That’s incredibly threatening to me. Okay, I’ll beh–oh wait. You’re on a break. A writing break. Because “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

Me: [silence]

Toaster: It must be rough. Not writing, that is. How’s that feeling?

Me: Fuck you. [Sets level from 3 to 3.2. Presses lever]

Toast immediately pops up, burned.


The Nashville Metropolitan Government’s Apparent Reaction to Snow


The setting of our story.

I, i

Early afternoon, January 20, 2011: Precipitation in the form of freezing rain that, over the course of ten minutes, turns to sleet. Inside the Metro offices, a group of decision-making employees wearing khakis and button-up shirts bought from Wal-Mart crowd around the scummy, unclean windows. (It would cost too much to have the windows cleaned, and the budget must be clear so that road work downtown may continue.) They watch, enraptured and awe-struck, as the drops turn to flakes.

Bureaucrat 1: What is this?

Bureaucrat 2: I know not. [pause] Consult the Codex.

[Audible gasp from the Metro government workers.]

Bureaucrat 3: Surely, we do not need to consult the Codex quite yet. Verily, the objects falling from the sky are truly frightening—Louis hath shat himself quite thoroughly.

Louis, the Bureaucrat: Sorry.

[Louis exits to clean himself.]

Bureaucrat 3: But one man’s soiling of himself doth not warrant the gathering of the Codex.

Archie, the Intern: What’s the Codex?

[A hush falls over the group of city employees. They turn from the windows and stare, slack jawed, at the one who does not know of the Codex.]

Bureaucrat 1: Ask thou, “What is the Codex?” Yea, thou shouldst surely ask “What is the sky?”

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Travelin’ Hobos

Not what I saw a few days ago

So it snowed in Nashville a few days ago. This isn’t something I’m completely used to yet, as every time it’s snowed in Nashville, I’ve either been in Smyrna, Knoxville, or England.

Smyrna doesn’t count, as that’s a hell hole from whence nothing good can come.

Knoxville counts, but I was drunk most of the time, so I couldn’t tell you much more than snow is something to be avoided when you’ve been hitting the whiskey.

England most definitely counts, since Canterbury was turned into Hoth last January, and I had a blast schlepping up the hill in sub-zero temperatures and amazing my Chinese flatmates with my ability to withstand cold.

Of course, this being Nashville, and thus, in my reckoning, the tropics, the snow didn’t last long. For the most part, it melted when it hit the pavement and provided little more than hope and a semi-visual indicator of which way the wind was blowing.

But it also had something else. As I left the office in the early afternoon to get some green tea (China Green Tips, good stuff), I looked out to the Fifth Third Bank plaza – you know, the one by the church with the huge plaque listing how many times its burned down – and saw a homeless man dressed in black running around catching snowflakes on his tongue.

The church, not the homeless man

It was one of those sights that made me glow just a bit. I thought about how great it was that being a kid stayed with a person through it all. How, deep down inside, we all want to stay young, back when we were innocent and thought that, yes, throwing water on a raging citronella candle was a good idea, just before it burned down a childhood home and we had to shift blame on neighbors to avoid getting charged with arson.

I bought the tea, headed back to the office, and told a coworker.

She nodded sagely and said, “That’s Will. Will has a severe case of schizophrenia. He’s probably off his meds.” Then she turned back to her computer and went back to work.

I stood there for a few seconds, my buzz thoroughly killed.

“Shouldn’t you get back to work?” She asked.

“Indeed,” I said, walking back to my desk.

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