Today I was standing in front of the stove, grilling a hot ham and cheese sandwich for Aisling, when the smoke detector took umbrage with my method of sandwich-making and began to shriek in loud, long paroxysms of rage that made me want to grab the broom and knock it off the ceiling so I could stamp it to death.
Would you like to know why the smoke detector moved me to such extremes? It's because last Thursday, my British Literature class came over for an evening of pizza and David Copperfield, and my husband went out to Pizza Hut and fetched the pizzas, putting them in the oven upon his return because I wasn't quite finished babbling about characters and point of view and genres and - one of my favorite topics - the Timeline of British Literature. As I was nattering on and on, talking about bildungsroman and child labor and how Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, died of typhus, I started to smell something burning.
But, you know, the smoke detector wasn't going off. It was completely silent. Knowing how it gets that urge to scream its head off if a biscuit so much as turns golden-brown, I decided that I was imagining things and kept on talking.
A moment later, my eyes felt all itchy and watery, and the burny smell was stronger. "Excuse me," I said to my students, "but I think my kitchen is on fire."
I went through the swing door from the dining room and went into the kitchen, which was full of smoke. Smoke, I'd like to add, that was going completely undetected by the SMOKE DETECTOR on the ceiling.
Nervously, I yanked open the oven door and pulled out the pizza box on the lower rack which was, yes indeedy, BURNING on the bottom. I made haste with a dish towel and stifled it before it actually burst into flames, but it was darned scary. Which why I am holding a bitter grudge against the stupid smoke alarm, squealing up there above my head today over a grilled sandwich that wasn't even burning.
Which is also why, if the Machine Apocalypse that takes place in the Terminator movie franchise ever happens, I am going to be the sharpshooter in charge of going around and shooting all the smoke detectors.
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