The Day The Kettle Glowed Red

MaMa put the kettle on, MaMa put the kettle on, MaMa put the kettle on, and (nearly) burnt the house down.

BaBa took it off again, BaBa took it off again, BaBa took it off again, and nagged (about it) his whole life…

Was the day I almost burnt the house down. The second time.

My short term memory has taken a turn for the worse recently. The rate at which things slip through my mind is astonishing and scary to boot. I simply could not remember things.

You might say, record it down somewhere, silly! Yeah, if only it was that easy. How do you expect me to write something down when I cannot even remember to write it down in the first place? If only life is that simple…

Well, we had a kettle that whistled when the water starts to boil, the whistling getting louder and louder if you ignore it. Well, used to whistle, actually. Before the almost-accident, the kettle decided it was probably rude to whistle so loudly, so it switched to spluttering softly for a change. You cannot hear the kettle unless you stand by the kitchen door.

The first time it happened, I happily went to tend to my crops in Farmville, Facebook, after setting the water to boil in the kettle. The kitchen light switch must have been connected to my brain somehow, for the moment I flicked the kitchen light switch off, any memory of the kettle was switched off as well. By the time I was done with the computer and went to the kitchen for a drink of water, there was only half a kettle of water left. Phew, close shave. There was still half a kettle of water for consumption.

Half a kettle of water didn’t last very long. The next evening, I had to boil water again. The same thing happened the moment I switched off the kitchen light. All memory went out with the light.

More than 2 hours later, when we settled into bed for the night, and I was already dozing off to La-La Land, the Man jumped out of bed. I was jolted awake, and with that, I suddenly remembered I was boiling water a long time ago!

There was a very strong burnt-chemical smell in the air.  All the water had evaporated and the kettle was glowing red at the bottom and rattling furiously on the stove. The overhead laminated kitchen cabinets had popped at the edges and we were breathing in toxic-smelling fumes.

The Man flew into a silent rage that threatened to boil over. I retreated into the room, unsure of  my future. Would I be asked to fork out renovation costs for the kitchen cabinets, made to scrub the kettle clean before I go to work, or banished to another room to sleep for the rest of the week?

Sleep eluded me for a long time. In the morning, I surveyed the damage. The kettle was no longer red, but black all over. The edges of the kitchen cabinet were not as visibly popped as the night before. Nevertheless, I pressed my fingers into the edges for some time, hoping against hope that by some miracle, the pressing would make the edges stick together again.

In the end, the kettle was sent down the rubbish chute. The edges of the kitchen cabinets still serve as a painful memory that I destroyed the life of the kettle, caused the gas and electricity bill to spike this month, and nearly killing my family.

I learnt my lessons. When a whistling kettle no longer whistles, it’s time to buy a new one. And when one is boiling water, don’t plant crops or re-arrange trees in straight rows…


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