Toast Poast Number Median/Central/Mean

Toaster Central

My toaster (oven) (ahem) was purchased as new-old-stock. It looks new, but has emotional baggage. When left alone it cries, in a high-pitched, even singing, sounding like a mosquito who never pauses for air. Am I surprised? Nah.

Identity crisis seems apropos for a small appliance whose use is unspecialized. Spork, anyone? If you’ve seen Wall-E, you will recognize the sorting dilemma of which I write. As if you can’t see it with your own two eyes. The very eyes that look at just ONE thing at a time. Toaster ovens, poor things, are wall-eyed, peering out at the world through the tribulation of bake vs. toast.

We all try to wobble back to our center, our mean, our median, the grassy stretch that grows between the good and evil within. That nice, toasty, sun-warmed strip that runs straight to the heavenly horizon.


Mimi Harrison sent me the link to Toast Central, and Mimi understands the high-pitched mosquito song that says

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: When we asked you, our listeners, to tell us about your personal summer sounds, we found that most of you savored the pleasant ones, but not all of you.
MIMI HARRISON: My name is Mimi Harrison. My summer sound is the sound of mosquitoes.
HARRISON: When I was in my 30s, I lived on Water Street, one of the oldest streets in Manhattan. The Fulton Fish Market was around the corner and the whole neighborhood was full of dilapidated brick buildings and the constant smell of decaying seafood. My boyfriend and I lived in a great loft in an old cracker factory. No one lived where we did except romantics like ourselves who loved coming home to the cobblestone street and the ghosts of our ancient neighbors. The whole neighborhood was built on flotsam and oyster shells with standing water in every basement.
When summer came and the street heated up like a kiln, it bred lethal swarms of mosquitoes.
HARRISON: So every summer night after the fans were turned on, after the cold shower and the light toweling off, we’d dive onto the bed, turn off the lights and hope to stay cool long enough to fall asleep. Within seconds, we’d hear the whine.
HARRISON: And then came the slaps.
HARRISON: Our heads, our necks, arms, ankles, any meat that was hanging outside the sweaty sheet was devoured. Whine, slap, whine, slap, whine, slap. We moved to Washington eventually to an air conditioned place with quiet nights. Much of the old New York neighborhood has been gentrified. The fish market moved to the Bronx and I like to think that down in the putrid pools beneath those renovations, those little suckers are multiplying and treating the new residents to a true summer sound.
SIEGEL: That’s Mimi Harrison with the latest in our series on the sounds of summer.

3 responses to “Toast Poast Number Median/Central/Mean

  1. LC,
    Maybe it is me.. (usually it IS me), but you continue to edge ever further out from grounded Sandwich Queen to beat-poet mistress channeler.. Toaster ovens are “wall-eyed”?? It is a modest oven, that can step up to protein of ~ a pound and do a respectable job. Grill cheese. Reuben. Monte Cristo. Tuna Melt. Reheated pizza slice (we have no microwave – no, we are not Luddites – just no room or need). Great post, still…and I know from NOS, as an owner of a vintage Lincoln Continental, circa ’62.

  2. Next post is going to be straightforward and descriptive. No shenanigans. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading, KS!

  3. LC,
    Shenanigan away, if it is your ala mode for the “post toasty”. (That is a name of a cool tune by the late great Tommy Bolin I think). Let’s not go postal however. Finally cooling off here – got overdue yard work tackled and almost no sweat!

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