What’s really strange, at least in my opinion, is how this image can mean so much to me and nothing to you. That’s right, no matter how much you stare into this kitchen, or how earnestly you try to give it life, even the most imaginative of you will never be able to feel anything on par with how this image makes me feel at a mere glance.
Above the gas stove hangs my pasta/rice pot, which I never got around to cleaning, thinking that boiling water would kill off any harmful bacteria and leave behind orts of nutrition: a win-win situation.
Early morning sunlight from the east stripes the Oak floor. Outside I see downtown Chicago, the skyline far enough removed to admire each building’s shape and sex.
The furnace, with its 70% efficiency, is kept on low even during the coldest months. The natural gas pilot glows a faint blue at night, when the lights are off and the Oak floor sighs with age as you step on certain areas.
Impossible to avoid, these Oak landmines.
I am sitting in front of the water heater, also powered with gas, and I am in the heat of Bernhard’s prose. The table I’m sitting at is the same color as the treacherous Oak floor. The water heater makes noise as it cycles through another round of heat that’s costing me a non-negligible sum of coin.
Yes, I just showered, my hair is still wet, that’s why the door to the bathroom is open, and if you look closely enough you’ll see my moist footprints walking towards you. But now I’m fully clothed, and I really do mean fully clothed, since it’s February in Chicago and I have yet to turn the furnace with its 70% efficiency above its absolute lowest setting. Any lower and the pilot would extinguish, making it a possibility that I could become another victim of carbon-monoxide poisoning.
Hey, it happens.
The microwave dings. I finish the sentence I’m reading and shut the book. Please note that I don’t place Bernhard open and face down on the table, that would ruin the binding, which, for some irrational and twitty reason, I love.
After all, what in the world would I aspire to if book binding never existed? Surely not timelessness and greatness. And what else is there to aspire to if not timelessness and greatness?
Aim high, that’s what the people around us say.
Inside the maw of the microwave is my breakfast, which is the same pasta dish that I had for yesterday’s dinner, the only difference being that, in the spirit of breakfast, I sandwiched the pasta between two speciality slices of bread from Stanley’s, the produce market I visited two days ago on yet another one of my long, masochistic walks through the snow.
But please don’t think I’m eating a breakfast of straight carbs. What I have in my hands also includes additional nutrition, namely, broccoli florets, tomatoes, avocado, honey, scrambled eggs, and cheese. People who have had the pleasure of eating this meal often suggest I purée the entire sandwich in a mixer, add soy milk, and bottle it for mass consumption.
Does this sound like a good idea?