People notice the differences between my home and theirs when they come over. Or rather, some people notice some things that are obviously different. I think almost every person who has seen my apartment makes this discovery, sometimes not until the second or third visit, and usually when they watch me cook something:

I just realized that you don't have a microwave.

The only microwave I ever owned was one that was bought when I had a live in boyfriend that I thought I might marry. It was the only time in my life where I had all the domestic items I needed, plus a few I didn't think I'd ever need. This was due mainly to his mother. His parents would visit often, living only a few hours from the college we were attending, and shower us with gifts. They poured out nesting material from some surplus of joy that their son had finally settled down, and I was often referred to as the future daughter-in-law. I all of a sudden had cookbooks, Pyrex cooking dishes, spatulas, dish towels, even a cheap but new kitchen table and chairs in country blue (she seemed to like country blue).

But we bought the microwave. We bought it and a nice set of cooking pans from Sam's Club. We had it for maybe two years before we moved here and for some reason, we didn't take it with us. It might have ended up with all the other domestic items of ours that we stashed away in his parent's tool shed. When I followed him to New Orleans he and his roommate already had a microwave, but it was used and nasty. It wasn't like ours.

The breakup was like a divorce, only he got everything. His mother took back all the things she had given us and kept for him and his new wife and their daughter. After 3 years of storing my personal things along with our things in their shed, I guess I should be lucky that I retained anything. The box of letters he had written to me mysteriously disappeared.

And so, 4 years have gone by and I've never made effort to buy a microwave. I associate doing that with settling down, with making a home by adding things of your own, your own appliances and furniture. I have little of either for that reason. I don't want to settle here, but I still have to fend for myself here, so I have the staple toaster and that's about it. I drink all my coffee at work and get blender drinks in a bar. There's a microwave at work, so I save my easy quick meals for when I'm working. If I can't bake, boil, toast, or eat it raw, I eat it somewhere else.

It would be more normal for me to not have a microwave for a more valiant reason, since I manage to find symbolism in almost everything. But in addition to not wanting to settle here, I also can't afford to buy one, that is, I can but I don't want to throw down a hundred plus dollars for an appliance when I could use that same money to buy something I will actually enjoy rather than "need". It's all a matter of how I acquire things. I haven't bought a TV in 4 years either, but I did have one given to me eventually, so that's how I rationalize having one.

My life, I don't know, my life just isn't ready for a microwave yet.

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