Monday, December 7, 2009

A Brief Encounter with a Toaster Oven

You could tell we were in tony Brooklyn Heights because someone had taken the trouble to print out a notice in blue block capitals and stick down all the edges.
"Sounds like a haiku."
"Think it might be my new Facebook status."
Thanks to the opening night party we were already a couple of cocktails (or, in Chris' case, considerably more) to the wind, although it was barely half past eight. The party had taken place in a cavernous, empty duplex in a sprawling, fancy new building next to the freeway. As we pulled up in the coach we realise we'd actually walked past the building one nightmarish summer afternoon when we'd got stuck on the demon low road instead of the scenic boardwalk. We'd ended up walking for what felt like miles along the hard shoulder, as speeding cars and lorries whipped up clouds of dust from the disused industrial sites which boxed us in from the river. As it turned out, we got to relive that feeling of endless tramping as we followed sign after sign after sign round corners and through echoing corridors to get to the fabled suite 205. Once there, we got to take in the mind-blowing views of the Manhattan skyline, and the rather less awe-inspiring vistas of industrial decay. "Apparently there's going to be a park there soon," people kept on saying encouragingly.
We were so amply plied with premium liquor and lobster mac and cheese that we stayed until the average age of the guests had halved and the party was little more than us, the cast, their friends and the very amiable Brazilian barman. Stumbling home ("Look! This is how we escaped last time!") we came across a Black and Decker toaster oven balanced invitingly on a dustbin.
As we were examining it, a man walked up behind us and stopped to peer at it too.
"What have you got there?"
"Toaster oven."
"Ah, toaster oven. Very nice."
"Apparently the knob's gone, but it works fine."
"Always the knobs with toaster ovens."
"We're going to need some pliers."
"Well good luck with that. Best of luck in the world."
The man walked off, but Chris hardly seemed to notice. He was taking big sniffs of the inside of the toaster oven.
"Smell that?"
"Just smell it."
"Now answer me this," he said, slinging the oven under his arm, "why does our new toaster oven smell of weed?"
I checked to see if he was joking, then gestured to the guy who was sauntering away.
"I don't think it's the oven, sweetheart."
His face cracked into a relieved grin. "Ah, that makes more sense. Let's get this bad boy home."

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