My Microwave, RIP.

Sir Nukesmysoup
Born: 1999-ish
Died: April 9, 2012, 1:37 p.m.

Today is a sad day in the kitchen, and not just because thus far, my soup plans have gone awry. Today, I say farewell to an old friend of mine who has been with me since I moved up north.

Sir Nukesmysoup came into my life in July of 2010, a hand-me-down from a college friend of mine. From my understanding, Sir spent a lot of time traveling Ohio after he was born in China and imported to America. He finally settled in Sylvania but found that his services were no longer needed after my friend’s father closed his business. He was thinking about retiring, anyway, but after a couple years of sitting in a musty garage, he decided it was time to re-enter the labor market. He found his way to me, and I hired him for one thing: to heat my leftovers to perfection.

Although Sir was old when I met him, he still had some spunk left. Slow but steady, he took three minutes to heat a bowl, but I never once complained. I’m pretty sure one day I’ll have him to thank for getting cancer since the paint was peeling off the top of his insides when I hired him. Sometimes, I wonder how much of it he dropped into my food. He was a crotchety old thing, Sir, but he was willing to put up with me using him as a storage space for the small appliances I didn’t have any room for on the counter. He held my vitamins in plain sight, and the oversized coffee mug I got in Disney World the summer I met him. The funny thing was, once I gave him something to heat up, he was loth to let it go. He would cling to it with the same tenacity with which he clung to life. His door stuck constantly.

The first time I used Sir, I was mystified by my inability to successfully heat a plate of pasta. I hit the “Start” button about seven or eight times and failed to produce even the slightest signs of life. He was sleeping, anyway, so I didn’t want to disturb him since he would be around for the next two years. With a sigh, I decided to eat the pasta cold. It was a hot day, anyway.

On my second attempt, I’m not sure what prompted it, but I pressed the middle of the button. Sir sprang to life with a mechanical whir that meant he was heating my food. Suddenly, my life away from the home I missed so much looked a little brighter, all because Sir was willing to work with me instead of against me.

For two years, Sir and I have worked together to get rid of leftovers, him heating them, me eating them. Of all the things in my kitchen, I have probably turned to him more often than practically everything, maybe with the exception of the dishes and George Foreman. When I was down, only Sir could heat my soup, and on more than one occasion, he also heated my tea. He cooked my popcorn to perfection and burnt the bottom pieces every time, but still… still, I couldn’t part with him, not since he was struggling so hard.

During my time as a sole chef, I’ve learned that I can live without a lot of things. I’ve realized the superfluity of owning a matching set of dishes. I’ve found ways around buying a rolling pin and a knife sharpener. I admittedly have way too many coffee cups and tupperware containers, and in my time of need, when Sir let me down, when he said quite clearly that he had heated his last bowl by giving me a cold leftover taco, I learned that a microwave was an absolute necessity.

Am I bitter? No. Sir Nukesmysoup lived a good life. He made sure my meals were heated for two years, and even if it wasn’t to perfection, it meant something. It meant I didn’t have to eat another meal out. It meant comfort and sustenance and creative ways to get through the night on caffeine highs. The counter feels a little emptier without him. I take solace in knowing that he would approve of his replacement, who may well perform his job better than he did but who will never quite occupy the same high standing that Sir achieved. A first microwave does that to a person, no matter how many hands it has gone through. One thing is certain: these hands will not forget.