How to Be…Battery-Powered
by Lindsay Timmington
- Live in an apartment leased to you by a notorious Queens slumlord who may or may not be affiliated with the Greek mafia so you don’t want to piss him off with too many maintenance requests. Also his son is super hot which is neither here nor there but important to you and hey-you never know.
- Have a real “kitchen” unlike 90% of NYC kitchens which are actually also living rooms, and every once in a while, bedrooms.
- Have a stove that is adorable to everyone besides those who actually have to use it and was likely manufactured in 1942 which was also the last time it was thoroughly cleaned.
- Be strangely attached to this dollhouse stove because it heated the apartment (via box fan circulating the warm air generated by the oven cranked to the highest temp with the door open) when your landlord refused to fix the boiler the first winter you lived here.
- Have a sneaking feeling it’s going to be a problem when after three years, the stove suddenly and completely dies. Have a sneaking-er feeling that your slumlord’s sudden attentiveness to this problem means a stove or two recently “fell” off the back of a truck and that if you ever decide to try your hand at cooking and use the stove, you may in fact, die.
- Have high hopes (maybe he’s changing! maybe i don’t have to move! maybe i’ll learn to cook!) when your old stove is hauled away to the dollhouse furniture dump and a new one shows up in a box that does not appear to be taped back together, and from a seemingly legit manufacturer.
- Have less high hopes when your slumlord’s wife shows up with the money she owes you because you paid for the initial visit from the electrician who strangely enough, she informs you, will not be installing your new stove and also, you’ll need these she says, handing you an economy sized package of AA batteries.
- Have less, less high hopes when you walk back into your apartment, scratching your head over the gift of batteries, walk into your living and have the new electrician ask you if you have six AA batteries. “There’s no outlet to plug the stove into,” he explains and then runs his hands over the new stove as if it was a baby unicorn, “I’ve never seen one of these before!” He shoves it into the corner of your kitchen and batteries up your stove, exclaiming “Wow!” as he rises off the floor,s confirming the fact that when you attempt to operate the stove, you will in fact, die.
- Find yourself momentarily overcome with the shininess of your brand new battery-powered dollhouse stove until you realize that it’s kind of like going on a date with a person you’ve only seen from neck up. High, high hopes initially, but in reality you have NO idea what you’re working with as you travel south. A quick test drive proves that the burners work and operate like a normal gas stove. Test out the oven by popping a piece of bread in the oven (because you’re also secretly a pioneer who doesn’t have a toaster or microwave) and attempt to fire up this battery-powered bad boy. Realize your oven knob has a pilot setting on it and needs to be lit. Panic a little.
- Press the knob in and twist to “pilot,” wait a moment and then adjust the dial to the appropriate bread-toasting temperature-somewhere between 300 & 450 degrees. After a few moments return to the kitchen to retrieve the toast and eat a basic lunch of avocado toast only to find that the oven is colder than your ex’s heart and your toast is sadly, still just bread.
- Google “how to ignite your battery-powered oven” and get a slew of unhelpful and concerning answers. Refer to the instruction book (#oldschool) and open the compartment below the oven where you used to store rarely used kitchen utensils only to find that there ain’t a storage unit in this bad boy. Push the knob in and turn to “pilot” again. Wait ten seconds, and release the knob as instructed by your battery-powered stove’s manual. Nada. Get on the floor and reach up to push and twist the knob while peering inside the underbelly of the oven. See the pilot attempting to catch the gas or the gas catch the pilot and realize how little you actually know about this kind of shit and didn’t even realize it was something you NEEDED to know but then again you didn’t even know there were battery-powered stoves and WOW NOW DON’T YOU FEEL DUMB.
- Yell loudly. Skype your friend asking how to operate your battery-powered stove. Prop your laptop up on the dog’s water dish aimed at the stove and ask him to help you figure this the fuck out. “Don’t get your head too close to that, probably” he recommends as you stick your head further inside the bottom of the oven to inspect the pilot lite and feel like recommending that he fucking sit the fuck down in his TajMah Hall of a home with a non-battery powered stove.
- Push the knob in again and count to ten as the manual commands. See a tiny flame appear. A flame of hope! A flame holding the promise of toast! Get excited and turn the knob prematurely only to learn you NEVER PRE-TURN THE KNOB. Watch as the flame disappears and you return to zero. Get a little high off the gas fumes. Try again. Count to ten. Hold and wait and search for the little flame. Ahh! Wait, wait, waitforit. And then! All of the sudden–SWOOOOOOSH a giant flame races towards you as the pilot catches the gas or whatever and turns to flame and suddenly your stove is heating up! Toast will be had! You have no idea how or why or how safe this whole program actually is but goddamn it, TOAST.
- Live like this for a month. Use the burners as normal (soup, eggs, re-heated coffee) and every time you want some goddamn toast, open the bottom part of the stove, get down on the floor and court the fuck out of this goddamned battery-powered oven in order to turn it the fuck on.
- One day realize, NO. You pay too much in rent. This apartment is shit and the only reason you stay is cause you’re a sentimental bastard and can’t afford anything else around here and Damn It you just want some fucking toast every now and again and you shouldn’t have to get on the floor to have toast. Text your landlord. “Hey! So I’m thinking this battery-powered stove might actually might be really dangerous.” Wait. Text again. Answer when he calls and anticipate a big fight and to hear, blah blah the stove is fine and brand new and batteries aren’t all that expensive but instead hear, “we’re going to install an outlet and get you a different stove” which makes you wonder what 20/20 episode you missed that had the expose on exploding battery-powered stoves but hey, that’s okay. Take my batteries, take my stove, just don’t take my toast.
- Turn off the stove and have dinner. It ain’t toast, but it’s still pretty damn good.
17. Go to toast bread the day after publishing post and realize stove no longer turns on at all anymore thanks to your insistence on getting a “here’s proof it’s battery-powered” photo. Stove is broken. Or needs new batteries. Just like your spirit.