Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of All Numbers

"We wake, if ever at all, to mystery."
-Annie Dillard

Spouse bought a different kind of breakfast cereal the other day, a blend of fruit and oatmeal which requires some minutes in the microwave.
Typically, on our first day with a strange cereal, I prefer Spouse to make his own so that if the timing or consistency is incorrect I may avoid blame. All cereals call for varying measurements of water, milk and temperature and it is difficult to judge each one.
I watched yesterday morning as Spouse poured the water and placed the bowl inside the microwave.
"Three minutes and thirty three seconds," suggested Spouse with supreme confidence, and although I am never one to argue with his precise calculations I do, in passing, wonder where he gains his knowledge. If he would only share such detail, it might not in future take two of us to prepare a bowl of oatmeal.
Spouse pressed 3:33 on the display and touched the Start button.
Then the chosen numbers disappeared, we heard a distinct and alarming click, and the screen went ominously blank. Even the clock, with its sleepy-eyed time of 5:45, had fallen dark.
Spouse succeeded in reclaiming the clock after a moment, and began the process again, warily considering the possibility that the microwave had retired in that instant.
When 3:33 was requested a second time, the microwave simply refused to obey and the numbers vanished as before.
After several more efforts with the same result, Spouse thought to try a different set of numbers, and pushed 4:44 with an increasingly impatient finger.
Inside, the oatmeal began to rotate pleasantly as though nothing untoward had transpired. We could hardly believe our eyes.
The microwave is not broken, then- far from it, as the breakfast turned out perfectly fine- but for some peculiar reason it dislikes 3:33, of all numbers, and refuses to work with it. As far as I am aware, the microwave tolerates all other combinations of digits.
Even Spouse, the expert in our home on all things technical, could not determine a sufficient explanation as to why in the world a microwave oven would reject 3:33, a number so reasonable, so harmless- yet of such cryptic personal significance to the machine that it would rather terminate its own clock and sit in stony silence than accept such a code.


Barb said...

Did you think for just a moment that you were in the Twilight Zone??? B

Pauline said...

I wonder what 6:66 would have caused it to do...

julochka said...

i tell you, machines are going to take over the world!!! but that is pretty funny. :-)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Barb, I did indeed. It was very strange.

Pauline, that remains to be seen- I haven't tried it. I suspect the machine really wouldn't like that one ;)

Julie, They are going to take over. I just know it. They probably couldn't do a worse job than we humans are doing. Could they?

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